Placement and Proficiency Exams


For more information on Advanced Placement and Retroactive Credit, please visit the Undergraduate Admissions page and expand the "Advanced Placement / International Baccalaureate" or "Retroactive Credit" tabs.

Placement Exams

Placement exams help to determine the course in which you should enroll if you are continuing your study of a language with which you have had previous experience. These exams focus on your abilities and knowledge of the language rather than the amount of prior coursework that you have had. We currently only offer an online Placement Exam for Spanish. For more information about Portuguese language courses, placement, and exemptions, please contact lecturer Ana Laura Marques.

SPAN 104 - Elementary Spanish I: Only for students with no previous study of Spanish and for students with one year in freshman or sophomore year of high school (5 credit hours)

SPAN 108 - Elementary Spanish II: This course prepares students for Intermediate level study of Spanish. Active preparation and participation is required. Classes conducted in Spanish. Not open to native speakers of Spanish. (5 credit hours) Prerequisite: Completion of SPAN 104 or placement (see rubric in next tab).

SPAN 212 - Intermediate Spanish I: A fully integrated content-based and form-focused approach to intermediate-level Spanish. Students process and practice a wide range of vocabulary and grammatical structures in order to complete tasks that promote critical exploration of the Spanish-speaking world and the development of listening, reading, speaking, writing, and intercultural competencies. Classes conducted in Spanish. Not open to native speakers of Spanish. (3 credit hours) Prerequisite: SPAN 108 or SPAN 111 or placement.

SPAN 216 - Intermediate Spanish II: A continuation of SPAN 212. A fully integrated content-based and form-focused approach to intermediate-level Spanish. Students process and practice a wide range of vocabulary and grammatical structures in order to complete tasks that promote critical exploration of the Spanish-speaking world and the development of listening, reading, speaking, writing, and intercultural competencies. Emphasis on process writing. Classes conducted in Spanish. (3 credit hours) Prerequisite: SPAN 212 or placement.

For more information and links to the online Spanish placement exam, visit the OLRC's page on Placement and Proficiency Exams and follow the "French, German, Russian, or Spanish" tab.

Please enroll into the course designated by your placement exam score. In order to enroll in SPAN 212, SPAN 325 or SPAN 324/328, you will need a permission code. You should not need a permission code to enroll into SPAN 108. To obtain a permission code, continuing students e-mail Spanish & Portuguese scheduling officer Rhonda Cook (rcook@ku.edu) or to our department email (spanport@ku.edu) after your enrollment window has opened. Incoming students will be issued their permission code at orientation. If you have any questions or concerns about your placement score or have trouble enrolling, please contact the Spanish & Portuguese Undergraduate Academic Advisor.

  • Placement Exam score guide:
    • ScorePlacement
      0 - 260

      SPAN 104 (5 credit hours)

      This course starts at the very beginning of an introductory, project-based Spanish learning program. It is designed to introduce and/or serve as a review of concepts and skills development typical in the first 2 years of high school Spanish. Class is taught in Spanish with a primary focus on communicating about the present.

      261 - 319

      SPAN 108 (5 credit hours)

      This course offers a brief review of the beginning of an introductory project-based Spanish learning program (covered in SPAN 104) but progresses quickly to cover second semester content. It is designed to review concepts and skills covered but not mastered in the second and third years of many high school Spanish programs.  Class is taught in Spanish with a primary focus on communicating about the past.

      320 - 419

      SPAN 212 (3 credit hours)

      This is the first of our 2-course intermediate Spanish sequence that uses Acceso, an open access site that is designed to promote the development of Spanish language abilities while exploring authentic materials found on the Web. Even if a student scores slightly above the lower range for the SPAN 216 (420-435), they might consider taking SPAN 212 because it is the introduction to the intermediate sequence.
      420 - 500

      SPAN 216 OR SPAN 325 (3 credit hours)

      This is the student’s choice based on confidence level and desired focus (SPAN 216: comprehensive culture content/speaking/writing course that satisfies CLAS FL requirement OR SPAN 325: Spanish for Heritage Speakers to prepare for SPAN 324/328).

      Students at the lower range should consider 216 and the higher range 325. Students wishing to minor would benefit from taking either (or both) courses.

      Above 500

      SPAN 324 & SPAN 328 (concurrently)

      700+

      Eligible for Proficiency Exam*

      *Proficiency Exam does NOT provide retroactive credit, only an exemption from the language course requirement of most programs. Please schedule an appointment with an advisor for more info.


Proficiency Exam

According to the Open Language Resource Center, Proficiency Exams allow undergraduate students to gain exemption from the Non-English Language Proficiency requirement in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences by establishing that their ability in a second language is equivalent to that of someone who has studied that language for four semesters at the college level.

Should you receive a score of 700 or better on the Spanish Placement Exam and wish to test out of the language proficiency requirement, please send a copy of your score to the main office at spanport@ku.edu. The office will connect you with the current proficiency exam coordinator to set up an appointment. The Department also offers a Proficiency Exam for Portuguese; please contact coordinator Ana Laura Marques for more information.

For more information, visit the OLRC's page on Placement and Proficiency Exams.


Still have a question? Check out our general FAQs page or Spanish Major FAQs page for additional info, or reach out to our main office at spanport@ku.edu.