Placement and Prior Learning

"Language is the New Oil that drives everything in the 21st century, and we need globally talented people right now." Hans Fenstermacher, CEO of Global and Localization Association

Because knowledge of a foreign language is such an important skill, students who studied French, German, or Spanish in high school and who hope to achieve greater fluency are strongly encouraged to continue studying that foreign language as college freshmen so that they strengthen and increase their language proficiency and avoid losing knowledge previously attained. Students who wait until their sophomore or junior year to continue language study too often discover that they have unfortunately forgotten most of their language skills, skills they dedicated years to attain.

Placement Exam and Oral Test-Out Exam

Students who wish to continue their study of French, German, or Spanish take a free online placement exam. The placement exam serves two functions: (1) it helps students who desire to continue studying a foreign language begun in high school to ascertain the appropriate level or course in which to enroll at Augustana; and (2) it allows students who studied French, German or Spanish in high school but who do not wish to continue studying foreign languages at Augustana to attempt to place out of Augustanta's two-semester language requirement. Students who place into a language course of 210 (Intermediate 1) or higher and who desire to test-out of the language  requirement must take, in addition to the written placement exam, an oral test-out exam; a free fifteen minute speaking and listening examination given by an MDFL faculty member.

Students who test out of one or more language courses are ONLY eligible to obtain transcripted credit for those courses by taking and completing the course recommended by the MDFL placement exam, and paying a small processing fee. For more information visit the Academic Support Services page.

Can I choose to study a language different from the one I started in high school?
Yes! Students can elect to try a new modern or classical language and can fulfill the General Education language requirement by completing Introduction to language I and II. Language selection might depend on personal interest, heritage, or career ambitions. Students with previous language experience who decide to try a new language are not required to take the online placement exam, but are nonetheless encouraged to begin their language study as freshman to afford time for a language minor or major should they so desire. Waiting until the sophomore or junior year to begin studying a language will not usually allow students enough time to complete the requirements of a minor or major before graduation.

When and where do I take the placement exam and/or oral test-out exam?

For all information on placement and oral test-out examinations, please visit the Foreign Language Placement and Oral Test-Out examinations page.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

Augustana University awards credit and recommends placement to students who have achieved a score of 3 or higher on the French, German or Spanish language AP examination.  Visit the Academic Support Services page for additional information.

  • AP score of 5, students are placed, following a consultation with language faculty, into a 300-level course (preferably one of the conversation/composition courses). Students receive 3 credits for Beginning Language I and 3 credits for Beginning Language II. Students who complete the 300-level course indicated by the AP exam results with a grade of C- or better are eligible to receive 4 transcripted credits for Intermediate Language I and 4 transcripted credits for Intermediate Language II by paying a processing fee.
  • AP score of 3 or 4, students are placed into Intermediate Language I and receive 3 credits for Beginning Language I and 3 credits for Beginning Language II.
  • AP score of less than 3, students take Augustana College's free on-line placement exam to finalize appropriate placement. Students who place into a course higher than Beginning Language I are eligible to receive transcripted credits for lower-level courses if they complete the course indicated by the replacement exam results with a grade of C- or better and pay a processing fee. Pease visit the Foreign Language Placement and Oral Test-Out examinations page. for additional information on the placement and oral test-out exams.