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Language Placement

Students are normally placed in language courses on the basis of years of a language taken in high school, CEEB Achievement Test or SAT-II scores, or the departmental equivalent (instructor’s test, interview, or questionnaire). Students may change levels within a language during the first two weeks of class. Students who consider themselves capable of higher–level performance may apply to the instructor during the first two weeks of the semester for more advanced placement. They may also be allowed by the department chair to be admitted for credit to a lower level language course after consultation with the instructor. Students who have had three years or more of a language in high school and drop to first–semester level will not receive credit for the course unless written exemption is obtained from the chair of Modern Languages and Literatures.

Advanced Placement credit

Credit based on Advanced Placement or SAT-II exam scores is only awarded for courses at the Intermediate level. Credit is not awarded for Elementary I or II (language 001 or 002).

Exam Score Credit
AP score of 2 or SAT-II score of 510-520 0 credits placement in 002 (Elementary II), 2nd semester
AP score of 3 or SAT-II score of 520 to 590 0 credits placement in 011 (Intermediate I), 3rd semester
AP score of 4 or SAT-II score of 600 to 690 4 credits placement in 012 (Intermediate II), 4th semester
AP score of 5 or SAT-II score of 700 or above 8 credits maximum

Guidelines for placement based on previous language study

These guidelines indicate the student's minimum placement level for continuation of language study at Lehigh.

Previous Language Study Minimum Placement
0 to 2 years before grades 11 and 12 Elementary I (001) level for French, German, or Spanish
0 to 2 years at any time Elementary I (001) level for Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, or Russian
3 years total or 2 years in grades 11 and 12 Elementary II (002) level for Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish
3 to 4 years, AP score of 3, or SAT II score of 320 to 590 Intermediate I (011) level for Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish
4 to 5 years, AP score of 3, or SAT-II score of 600 Intermediate II (012 )level for Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish
AP score of 5 or SAT-II score of 700 or above Arabic 190, Chinese 111, Japanese 141, Russian 141, or Spanish 141; French 143, German 163, 165, 167

Language Placement for Chinese - Heritage Speakers

Definition of “native or near native“ speakers: students who finished K-12 public school in China, Taiwan, or other Chinese speaking regions (not including International schools).

Definition of “heritage learners”: students raised in a family where Chinese is spoken but whose Mandarin proficiency can vary.

  1. Chinese 100 level classes and below are not open to native or near-native speakers;
  2.  Heritage speakers who cannot read/write or whose reading/writing skills are behind their spoken language ability can be placed in level 1 and level 2 reading/writing classes only. A placement Interview may be required.
  3. A student who has 3-5 years of Chinese language learning in the United States prior to Lehigh and/or has AP scores below 4 or HSK level below 3 can be placed into level 2. A placement test may be required for these students.
  4. Students who score a 4 or 5 on the AP test or reached HSK level 4/5 can start at the 100 level. Heritage learners who finished K-5 in China can also be placed in these classes. A placement test may still be required for students in these categories.
  5. Students who completed K-9 public education or a K-12 international school in China, Taiwan, or other Chinese speaking region can register for 200 level classes.
  6. Students who are native or near-native can register for 300 level classes. For 200 level classes, they must receive the permission of the instructor.
  7. Students who do not fit categories above should consult with the instructors regarding proper placement.

Language Placement for Spanish and Hispanic Studies - Heritage Speakers

We define heritage speakers of Spanish as the individuals who have had experience speaking in the language at home or/and have had permanent contact with extended family that uses Spanish as the primary way to communicate. Because the proficiency levels in the Spanish language vary greatly among heritage speakers, it is advisable to schedule an appointment for an interview with the professors in the Spanish program to find a class that meets your individual needs.

Elementary Levels Intermediate Levels for Heritage Speakers Advanced Spanish Grammar for Heritage Speakers
SPAN 001 and SPAN 002 SPAN 011 and SPAN 012* SPAN 141
Elementary Spanish 001 and 002 are courses designed to give students their first exposure to Spanish grammar and vocabulary. Students write and speak using the grammar and vocabulary introduced by the required textbook at an elementary level. These courses offer students their first experience with the Spanish language and as such are not appropriate for native speakers, heritage speakers, or students who have previously studied more than two years of the Spanish language in high school. Please consult the MLL placement guidelines for more detailed information. Intermediate Spanish courses are designed to develop oral proficiency while mastering previous Spanish grammar aspects and practicing new and more complex language structures in written and oral communication. Spanish heritage speakers who want to start developing reading/writing skills and get familiar with the grammar aspects of the language in a formal context can take these classes: Intermediate Spanish I (SPAN 011): Students who have taken one or two years of Spanish in High School. Intermediate Spanish II (SPAN 012): Students who have taken three years of Spanish in High School or/and need to review grammatical terms such as verbal tenses and moods. This course aims to provide students with intensive grammar practice at an advanced level of Spanish. Spanish heritage speakers who have taken four years or more of Spanish in High School, have done independent reading and writing in the language, or have some understanding of the Spanish grammar aspects at an intermediate level should take this class.

*Except in the case of Span001 and 002, which are not recommended, heritage speakers should consult with a faculty member in the MLL department.