College of Arts & Sciences

Modern and Classical Languages

The GEP Language Requirement and Language Placement Procedures

Does SJU have a Language Requirement and if so, what is it?
Yes. Depending on previous experience, all SJU students are required to take 0-2 language courses as part of their General Education Program (GEP). Unless you have received a language Advanced Placement score of 5 or receive an exemption for another reason, you must complete one of the following language course sequences:

  • 101 and 102; or,
  • 102 and 201; or,
  • 201 and 202; or,
  • 202 and 301; or,
  • 301 only

If you choose a language you do not speak and did not study in high school, you will start in 101. Otherwise, your required course sequence will be determined by your language placement according to your chosen language program’s policy.

Do I have to satisfy the language requirement during my freshmen year?
It is highly recommended that you satisfy your language requirement in your freshmen year so that you do not forget the language that you already know and so that you continue your study of language while it is still fresh.

Can I choose to study a language that I didn’t study in high school?
Yes.

Can I choose the level where I want to start?
No.  You will be placed at the appropriate level by the respective language program.  You may not change your placement without department approval. If you take a language course lower than the assigned level it will not count toward the GEP non-native language requirement. Each language program reserves the right to change a student’s placement if it believes that the student is not registered for the appropriate course.

Which languages can I take for the GEP and what do I need to know about that program’s placement policies?
The following languages fulfil the GEP language requirement; Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish. Please click on a language for its placement policy.

Do I need to take a placement test and language courses if I am bilingual or multilingual?
If English is not your native language and your skills in English are good, or if you have native-level skills in multiple languages, please contact Roseanne Brady (rbrady@sju.edu) or Dr. Robert Daniel (rdaniel@sju.edu) to explain your case. They will offer you guidance or answer your questions.  

 

CHINESE
Your placement in Chinese will be determined by your prior language experience and a placement test.

Who should take the test?
You should take the Chinese placement test if one of the following situations applies:
a. You want to prove that your Chinese language proficiency is above the first year level at Saint Joseph’s University.
b. You know some Mandarin Chinese/Putonghua.

Who should NOT take the test?
Students who are true beginners of Chinese should not take the test.

Which character form is used in the test?
The test is offered in both simplified and traditional Chinese versions. You may choose the one you prefer.

Is there a way that I can prepare for the test?
You can review textbooks or materials you have used before; however, we do not think it is necessary since the test is not based on any textbook or materials. You may NOT receive help from anyone during the test. You may NOT consult a dictionary or grammar texts.


FRENCH
Your placement will be determined by your prior experience in French (including the number of years studied and your grades) and your performance on an online, multiple-choice placement exam consisting of vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension questions. There is no oral or listening part to the exam. So that your exam accurately reflects your ability, we ask that you do your best without consulting any resources (such as dictionaries, online translators, or grammar books) or asking for help from others. Otherwise, your placement will likely be erroneous. We also urge you to complete fully the questionnaire that precedes the test, since that information assists us in placing you correctly.


GERMAN
Your placement will be determined by the number of years you studied German in high school (including grades earned) and your performance on an online, multiple-choice placement exam, consisting of vocabulary, grammer and reading comprehension questions. There is no oral or listening part to the exam. It is very important that you do not use any resources (for example: dictionaries, online translators, grammer books, etc.) or ask for help from others, as this will result in an inappropriate placement. Please supply all the required information. You may take the exam only once.


ITALIAN
Your placement in Italian will be based on a placement questionnaire and test (if necessary) in conjunction with your high school profile.

Do I need to complete the questionnaire AND the placement test?
ALL students must complete the online questionnaire, regardless of whether or not they have previously studied Italian. Upon submitting the questionnaire, depending on your prior exposure to the language, you MAY be prompted to take the placement test.

What is the placement test?
The Italian placement test consists of four parts: parts 1-3 are multiple-choice questions on grammar, listening and reading comprehension. The final section is a brief writing assignment.

It is essential that you complete this process by June 1st, or you will not be rostered for classes.

As you complete one part of the test, another part will appear. You should not spend more than 20 minutes on any one part. The entire exam (all 4 parts) should take no longer than one hour.

Your exam MUST represent your own work. Because your placement is based on your actual performance on this test, it is essential that you do not use any resources (for example: dictionaries, references books, online translators, grammar books, etc.) or ask for help from others. The consultation of any of these resources may result in your being placed in an inappropriate class.

By taking this test, you are bound by the terms of the SJU Academic Honesty Policy. Please familiarize yourself with this policy before taking the exam.

Further information is available on the “FYI” and “Q&A” sections of the Italian placement site.

What should I do to prepare for the placement exam?
There is nothing to do to prepare for this exam but please note the following:

  • Do your best on this exam as your performance will positively influence the type and number of Italian courses and language credits you will be required to take at SJU.
  • Do NOT use any dictionaries, reference books, or human or online resources for help during this exam as this will result in an inappropriate placement and is considered an infraction of the SJU Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Please supply all the required information. You may take this exam only once.
  • You may NOT register for an Italian course higher or lower than where you are placed by the Italian Language Program without permission from the Italian Program Director, Dr. Paola Giuli, or the Department Chair, Dr. Robert Daniel. If you do so, the Italian course that you take will NOT count toward your GEP language requirement.

Where can I take the online placement questionnaire and exam?
The Italian questionnaire and test are administered through Blackboard. To complete the questionnaire, and (if necessary) take the placement test:

  • Logon to MySJU using your SJU username and password
  • Select the “New Hawks Tab
  • In the “Items to Complete Box” (left-hand side), find “Language Placement” section
  • Click “Italian

What do I do if I experience difficulty logging in, or in completing the test?

For all technical difficulties, questions or concerns, please contact the Student Help Desk (610-660-3070).

After placement has been determined
Should I be worried about my ITA language placement? Your instructor will start the semester with a review to help you remember what you have studied and will also hold regular office hours during which you may seek additional help. Additionally, the SJU Learning Resource Center offers free tutoring for students of Italian.

What if I still don’t think I will be successful at the ITA level in which I am placed?
We recognize that not all high school language classes are the same and that students have different experiences with each of their teachers, but you will be required to complete the ITA course(s) in which you have been placed. Except in the case of a documented learning disability, you will not be allowed to move to a lower level ITA course to satisfy the GEP. Only if your high school transcript shows that you have completed 1 year of Italian or less will you be placed in 101. If you prefer to choose a different language, you will be placed according to that program’s policies.

 

JAPANESE
Your placement will be determined by the number of years you studied Japanese in high school and an interview with your Japanese instructor on the first day of class.


LATIN
Student placements in Latin are based on several criteria: an online questionnaire to determine the student's prior training in Latin, the number of years of Latin language study and the Roman authors and texts read, and final course grades earned in formal Latin study. Latin placement levels are made carefully and in full consideration of the student's prior experience with Latin. Once the level of Latin placement has been determined, only the Classics Program Director, Dr. Maria Marsilio can approve any change in level.


SPANISH
Your placement will be determined by the number of years you studied Spanish in high school and your performance on an online, multiple-choice placement exam consisting of vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension questions. There is no oral or listening part to the exam. Since it is a computer-adaptive test, the length varies from one individual to another, with the average time being about 15-30 minutes. You must take this exam online during the summer prior to coming to SJU.

Your exam must represent your own work; it is in your interest to work to the best of your ability and you are expected to work without the help of anyone or any resources. By taking this test, you are bound by the terms of the SJU Academic Honesty Policy. Please familiarize yourself with this policy before taking the exam.

Should I be worried about my SPA language placement?
The same introductory-level Spanish textbook (Mosaicos) is used in SPA 101 (chapters 1-4), SPA 102 (chapters 5-8) and SPA 201 (chapters 9-12). If you are concerned about your placement and would like to see the kind of material you will be studying at a particular level or if you would like to “brush up” on your Spanish before the first day of class, please visit this free Mosaicos website that provides a thorough review of the material covered in each chapter along with audio and written exercises that will help you come prepared to your first class.  Your instructor will start the semester with a review to help you remember what you have studied and will also hold regular office hours during which you may seek additional help. Additionally, the SJU Learning Resource Center offers free tutoring for students of Spanish.

What if I still don’t think I will be successful at the SPA level in which I am placed?
We recognize that not all high school language classes are the same and that students have different experiences with each of their teachers, but you will be required to complete the SPA course(s) in which you have been placed. Except in the case of a documented learning disability, you will not be allowed to move to a lower level SPA course to satisfy the GEP. Only if your high school transcript shows that you have completed 1 year of Spanish or less will you be placed in 101. If you completed more than one year of high school Spanish you cannot take 101-- no exceptions. If you prefer to choose a different language, you will be placed according to that program’s policies. If you have never studied it before, you will be placed in that language “101”.

What should I do to prepare for the placement exam?
Nothing. There is nothing to do to prepare for this exam but please note the information below:

  1. Do your best on this exam as your performance will positively influence the type and number of Spanish courses and language credits you will be required to take at SJU.
  2. Do NOT use any dictionaries, reference books, or human or online resources for help during this exam as this will result in an inappropriate placement and is considered an infraction of the SJU Academic Honesty Policy.
  3. Please supply all the required information. You may take this exam only once.
  4. You may NOT register for a Spanish course higher or lower than where you are placed by the Spanish Language Program without permission from the Spanish Program Director, Dr. Jennifer Ewald or the Department Chair, Dr. Robert Daniel. If you do so, the Spanish course that you take will NOT count toward your GEP language requirement.

Where can I take the online placement exam?
To take the Spanish Placement Exam:

  • Logon to MySJU using your SJU username and password
  • Select the “New Hawks Tab
  • In the “Items to Complete Box” (left-hand side), find “Language Placement” section
  • Click “Spanish

 

Important Note on Placement and the GEP Language Requirement:
The Spanish Language Program will review the results of your placement examination in conjunction with your high school Spanish profile. The Program reserves the right to change a student’s placement in a course if it believes that the student has not been placed at the appropriate level or in the most appropriate course based on the student’s exposure to the language. Students may not place themselves, or change their placement, without department approval. Registration in a Spanish course higher or lower than the approved level will result in no GEP credit being award for the course. Any student who believes that s/he is unable to complete successfully the Spanish course into which s/he is placed should choose to study a different language with which s/he is unfamiliar (i.e., Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Latin) and register for a course according to that program's placement policy.