Placement and proficiency exams
Learn more about how to test out of lower-level language classes! Students with military experience coming in with Defense Language Institute (DLI) credits in a language other than English should send a copy of their transcripts (unofficial can be used for information purposes) to NAU Transfer Articulation <Transfer.Articulation@nau.edu> for a determination on how those credits will transfer to NAU before moving forward with Challenge or CLEP exam options.
Completion of any language other than English can satisfy a language proficiency requirement at the level deemed necessary for the degree being sought. This does not apply to students who fall under NAU Policy 100810 (these students have already met their 202 proficiency requirement).
Two first year semesters (100 Level) of Swahili will meet a 102-proficiency requirement. Two semesters of second year Congolese (200) will meet a 202-proficiency requirement. A student who has one year of second year Apache may meet a 202-proficiency requirement if that was the second of the two semesters offered. Language credits other than those in the NAU catalog transfer in as LAN100TR or LAN200TR credits so manual equating in LOUIE needs to be made.
Students who transfer in language credits from universities that are on a quarter system will be more difficult to determine. Incoming students with these credits should check with NAU Dept. of Global Languages and Cultures for review.
Spanish placement exam Accordion Closed
Global languages placement exam
This is an online exam that allows you to assess your level of Spanish at the college level. The results of your placement will be given to you at the end of the exam(s) and forwarded to the email address you enter at the beginning of the exam. You must finish the exam to receive the needed results.
This exam is not linked to the university’s systems and only the person taking the exam sees the results (no electronic records of your results are kept anywhere so be sure you print the results and/or keep the email of your results so that you can use it for enrollment purposes). You may take the exam and use the results to enroll in a Spanish class that skips levels by following the directions provided by the department.
Placement for all other languages Accordion Closed
Please contact the following to make an appointment for assessment (if placement above 101 is deemed appropriate, request the instructor submit an “Electronic Enrollment Request” on your behalf):
- Chinese: Ms. Di Wu, 928-523-6401
- French: Dr. Michael Rulon, 928-523-8571
- German: Ms. Jessica Wood, 928-523-6731
- Italian: Mr. Kevin Massoletti, 928-523-1236
- Japanese: Sensei Reiko Akiyama, 928-523-8244
If you use email to contact these instructors, please include the following in the subject line, “Placement Needed for Enrollment/Pre-requisite Override”. Please contact Alexandria McConocha for additional assistance if you do not get a response within five days by forwarding the original email you sent the instructor.
If you are already proficient in a language other than English, consider testing out of the lower-level courses by taking a College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) Test or a Challenge Exam.
Credit-by-exam policies Accordion Closed
CLEP testing and Challenge Exams fall under the general category of “credit-by-exam.” The policies are listed in the current academic catalog under Transfer and Test Credits (Policy 100224). University language requirements for Bachelors Degrees can be found under Policy 100810 – if you are taking an exam to meet a language requirement please REVIEW this policy before proceeding. All advisors and students can contact Alexandria McConocha with questions or concerns. Some basic policies for these exams are as follows:
- You may earn no more than 60 units of credit-by-exam. This includes CLEP, Challenge Exam, Dantes, AP, or credit-by-exam earned at another institution.
- You may not Challenge or CLEP levels 101-202 of your native language. This is determined by the primary language spoken in the high school you graduated from, not what language is predominately spoken in your household.
- You may not repeat an exam within one year of your first attempt. Under no circumstances will you be permitted to take an exam for the same course more than twice.
- Credit earned through an exam must not duplicate credit you have already earned for the same course.
- You may not earn credit-by-exam in a course that is equivalent to, more elementary than, or substantially overlaps another course in which you have already obtained credit. If you are currently enrolled in a foreign language course and want credit for a more introductory course(s), you must take the exam for the lower course by the end of week eight of the current semester of the course in which you are currently enrolled. No exceptions. No refunds.
- Credits earned by Challenge Exam(s) do not transfer to other universities (do not show up on official transcripts). You may take as much credit-by-exam as you want, provided it does not exceed the total 60 unit limit or the limit designated by your academic plan (Major or Minor). However, it will not become part of your academic record until after you complete your first semester. If you leave Northern Arizona University, Challenge Exam credit is not recognized by other institutions.
- CLEP Exam scores are recognized by other universities for credit; your total score to number of credits awarded varies by university and therefore credits earned at NAU from this exam do not transfer (do not show up on official transcripts). Scores must be transmitted to a different university/entity via the CLEP website, not via NAU.
Please e-mail questions about testing to Alexandria McConocha.
College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) Accordion Closed
CLEP exams are standard exams for French, German and Spanish only and, depending on the score received, can give a student credit for 101, 102, 201 and 202 (at NAU these courses are 4 credit hours each, maximum 16). Students must have graduated from a high school where the primary language of instruction was in English (see NAU Policy 100810) to receive 101 thru 202 credits at NAU by taking this exam and can do so instead of registering for and attending actual classes. Students who pass the CLEP exam are given credit only for the course(s) that are covered by the exam. Since these exams carry no letter grade, the student’s GPA will not be affected. See the university policies and equivalency scores for CLEP (scroll down to the CLEP Subject Exams section; find the language you seek – tests are in alphabetical order).
CLEP Exam scores may be recognized by other universities for credit. However, since your total score to number of credits awarded varies by university the credits earned at NAU from this exam do not transfer (they do not show up on official transcripts). Scores must be transmitted to a different university via the CLEP website, not by NAU.
CLEP exams are being proctored by the NAU Testing Center in the W.A. Franke College of Business (Bldg 64) – parking and directions. Please visit the Testing Center website and then click on CLEP to register for an exam. For more details or additional information about the NAU Testing Center, please email or call 928-523-6549.
Students may also find a different location to take the CLEP exam. Call first to be sure they are still proctoring CLEP exams and ask them how much their proctoring fee will be.
Once you have determined a viable location, go to the CLEP website and set up an account and register for the exam (as required by the College Board). After you register for the exam you will receive a receipt for the amount of the exam (at the time of this website update the fee is $89) and a Ticket ID/CLEP Voucher. Once you have these, contact the testing location you have chosen to arrange a time to take your exam and to pay the required proctoring (fees vary by location). If you are going to take the exam at NAU, call the NAU Testing Center to schedule CLEP proctoring (928-523-2358) and get more information about their proctoring fee; you must bring the Ticket ID/CLEP Voucher to the testing center on the day of the exam.
If a CLEP test is not offered for the language you wish to receive credits in, you should then consider retrocredits or challenge exams. Please keep in mind that students must have graduated from a high school where the primary language of instruction was in English (see NAU Policy 100810) to receive these 101-202 credits at NAU as well. However, challenge exams that are for 300 level course credit and above are exempt from this policy.
Challenge Exam Accordion Closed
Here is some basic information to get you started:
- Currently enrolled NAU students may take Challenge Exams for credit.
- Challenge Exams are locally prepared by NAU faculty.
- Students must have met the pre-requisites for the Challenge Exams they wish to take and/or stipulate they wish to take the exam to show proficiency per their degree requirements.
- Challenge Exams cost $30 per unit (101-202 classes are 4 units so $120 for each Exam / 300 level and above are usually 3 units so they would run $90 for each Exam).
- You must review the Credit by Exam Policies before paying for or taking an exam.
Available Challenge Exams
Please review the current catalog for descriptions of courses offered or contact the name provided below for specific exam questions.
Note: Some of the Challenge Exams are in languages not currently offered as courses at NAU. Procedure questions should be directed to Alexandria McConocha.
- Chinese 101, 102, 201, and 202 (Di Wu/523-6401)
- French 303 and 304W (Professor Erika Hess/523-6676)
- German 303, 304W (Third Year) and 403, 404 (Fourth Year) (Assoc. Chair, Jessica Wood/523-6731)
- Greek (Ancient) 101, 102, 201, and 202 (Professor George Rudebusch/523-7091)
- Italian 101, 102, 201, and 202 (NOTE: prior consent from the instructor is required) (Kevin Massoletti/523-1236)
- Japanese 101, 102, 201, 202, 299 (Special Topics), 303 (Third Year) (Sensei Reiko Akiyama/523-8244)
- Latin 101, 102, 201, 202 (Professor Jeremy LaBuff/523-4518)
- Portuguese 101 and 102 (First Year) (Alexandria McConocha/ 523-6237)
- Russian 101, 102, 201, 202, 399 (Third Year), and 499 (Fourth Year) (Alexandria McConocha/ 523-6237)
- Spanish 303 and 304W (Alexandria McConocha/523-6237)
- Swedish posted as LAN 399 (Third Year/up to 6 credit hours = two semesters), and LAN 499 (Fourth Year/up to 6 credit hours = two semesters) – (Alexandria McConocha/ 523-6237) – Suspended for AY 2021-2022
- Note: Foreign language requirement must be manually applied by an advisor in LOUIE.
Challenge Exam Procedures
Ready to take a challenge exam? Check out the procedures below to make sure you’re prepared.
- Read the Northern Arizona University CLEP Policies and Challenge Policies in the academic catalog (most of these same policies apply to Challenge Exams.)
- Determine which Challenge Exam you would like to take, the number of units it will give you, and if the exam is still available. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Because exams are locally prepared, exam availability varies from semester to semester because faculty take sabbaticals, etc. Even if you see them on the drop-down menu from the Payment Page, they still may not be offered; please contact the department at 928-523-2361 to verify. There is always someone available to administer Spanish, German, and French Challenge Exams.)
- Consult with your academic advisor or the Gateway Center and the current academic catalog to determine how the units will apply to liberal studies requirements and/or your degree. University language requirements for BAs can be found under Policy 100810 – if you are taking a challenge exam to meet a BA language requirement please review this policy before proceeding. If you think Policy 100810 might apply to you and you’ve received contrary information from your major advisor, please review it with your major advisor before proceeding (they may not be unaware of it). All advisors and students can contact Alexandria McConocha with questions or concerns – some majors are different in their requirements. Note: Demonstrating “proficiency” at a certain level or above does not require lower level units to get to that level of proficiency.
- Make your payment on the payment page or you can make your payment in the department. Challenge exams cost $30 per unit. Four unit exams are $120 and three unit exams are $90. (Please note that if you pay in the department, we can only accept cash, check, or money order. Credit card payments are taken only from the Payment Page.) There are no refunds. A payment is your assertion that you have done all the research that is necessary prior to submitting that payment and you are ready to actually take the exam.
- Alexandria McConocha will be notified of the transaction the following day. Students will then be notified by Ms. McConocha via email (usually within three days) to come in, fill out the paperwork, and schedule the exam (oral exams will need to be arranged with faculty as directed by the department). Most challenge exams are given in the Global Languages and Cultures Department, Babbitt Academic Annex (Bldg #23) Room 108. The department’s phone number is 928-523-2361.
- Complete the required Challenge Exam form in the Global Languages and Cultures Dept. These three part forms must be filled out in the Global Languages office, Babbitt Academic Annex (Bldg #23) Room 108. Statewide academic advisors or students, please contact Alexandria McConocha to make arrangements for proctored exams.
- Note for Yuma students: Please contact your academic advisor before paying for a challenge exam.
After the exam:
The Challenge Exam and the form (just the form for Oral Exams) are submitted to the appropriate faculty for grading. After grading, the fully executed form is sent to Undergraduate Admissions, where the results are posted to your record.
You are welcome to contact the Global Languages and Cultures Department in person (with a photo ID) for your results if you wish to know your score before Undergraduate Admissions posts it.
If you do not see the results of an exam on LOUIE within eight weeks of taking the exam, contact the Global Languages and Cultures office first (928-523-2361) for the date it was sent to Undergraduate Admissions and then call Undergraduate Admissions at (928-523-5511) to inquire about the status – give them the date it was sent from the department.
Challenge Exam credits can take four to six weeks to post. If students need them to post sooner they must let Alexandria McConocha know at the time of email notification the payment has been received.
Language Proficiency Exams – No Credit
The Global Languages and Cultures (GLC) Department here at NAU works in conjunction with Brigham Young University (BYU) in certifying individuals who need to prove proficiency in a foreign language through the college 201 level. It is the student’s responsibility to verify that the person/entity requiring the proficiency certification is looking for certification at the college 201 level and not the 202 level.
NEW as of February 2022: Students who require proof of 202 proficiency in a language not taught at NAU, and do not fall under NAU’s policy 100810, can now take the Oral OPI Exam from ACTFL proctored by LTI in any of the languages they offer that are not offered by GLC. Students will NOT earn credits for taking this exam; however, the student’s advisor can mark the proficiency requirement as met once they receive the student certificate of completion at the level of “Intermediate Low” or above. Again, students may not use this exam for languages taught and/or tested in the Department of Global Languages and Cultures here at NAU. Always contact the department if you have any questions before you proceed, Alexandria McConocha, Academic Program Coordinator.
BYU for Non-NAU Students Accordion Closed
Tests available to non-BYU students.
A-D Accordion Open
E-L Accordion Closed
M-V Accordion Closed
Swedish (AY 2021-2022 only)
The total cost to receive this certification is $85.
- Complete the FLATS Registration Form for Testing through Correspondence. You will need to pay $50 to BYU for sending the exam to the proctor (NAU) and grading the exam.
Under “Proctor Information” and “Results Sent To” provide the following:
Global Languages and Cultures
Northern Arizona University
PO Box 6004
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6004
BYU charges $50, which you will pay online at time of registration. Do not select “Hold results so student will be the only one to receive a copy of the results.
- Contact Alexandria McConocha at 928-523-6237 or via e-mail to let Northern Arizona University know you have purchased the exam from BYU and make arrangements for the proctoring
- All proctoring of exams is done in the Global Languages and Cultures Department, Babbitt Academic Annex (North Campus Bldg #23) in room 108.
- At the time of the exam non-NAU students will need to have cash, check, or money order in the amount of $35 (proctoring fee) make out checks to NAU – Global Languages & Cultures. We do not have the ability to take credit card payments. You will have 2.5 hours to complete the exam.
- Global Languages & Cultures will return the test to BYU for grading.
If you pass the exam, a letter will be prepared by the Chair of Global Languages & Cultures stating your proficiency level. The letter will be mailed to the address you specify. Please note that copies and/or records of this exam will not be retained by Global Languages & Cultures for more than 30 days because we lack the resources to keep such records.
BYU for Current NAU students Accordion Closed
Certain degrees require you to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language. This normally means that you must demonstrate at least second-year proficiency in a language other than English. Our department strongly recommends that all advisors and students review Northern Arizona University language requirements for BAs under Policy 100810 before proceeding. Contact Alexandria McConocha if you have any questions or concerns.
The Global Languages and Cultures Dept. offers this service at the first year level in the form of challenge exams, where non-transferable hours toward graduation are given with a passing score in the following languages:
- Portuguese (LAN 101-102)
The Global Languages and Cultures Dept. offers this service at the second year level (some go higher) in the form of challenge exams, where non-transferable hours toward graduation are given with a passing score in the following languages:
- Chinese (CHI 101-202)
- Japanese (JPN 101-202)
- Italian (ITA 101-202)
Review the Exam Credit section of this page to find out more about taking one of these exams.
Proficiency and credits through the second year level (101-202) in French, German, and Spanish can be obtained by taking the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam (credits recognized by other universities) through the Testing Center.
Challenge exams (view the section on this page for more information) are available at higher levels through Global Languages and Cultures in these languages:
- French (FRE 303W and FRE 304W)
- German (GER 303, GER 304, GER 403, and GER 404)
- Japanese (JPN 399 and JPN 499)
- Spanish (SPA 303 and SPA 304W)
- Swedish (LAN 399 and LAN 499) – Suspended for AY 2021-2022
The Global Languages and Cultures Dept. works in conjunction with Brigham Young University (BYU) in certifying individuals who need to prove proficiency only in a foreign language through the college 201 level.
Global Languages, in conjunction with BYU, can administer non-unit earning proficiency exams in the languages listed below.
BYU Tests Available by Online Correspondence
Albanian, Georgian, Norwegian, Armenian, Greek, Persian-Farsi, Bulgarian, Haitian-Creole, Polish, Cambodian, Hmong, Portuguese-Brazilian, Cantonese-Simplified, Hungarian, Portuguese-Continental, Cantonese-Traditional, Icelandic, Romanian,
Cebuano, Ilonggo-Hiligaynon, Samoan, Croatian, Indonesian, Serbian, Czech, Korean, Tagalog, Danish, Latvian, Tahitian, Dutch, Lithuanian, Thai, Estonian, Malagasy, Tongan, Fijian, Malay, Ukrainian, Finnish, Mongolian, Vietnamese.
Most Bachelor of Arts programs at NAU require students to be proficient through the fourth semester of a foreign language (202 level).
For credit by examination purposes, you have the option of earning CLEP in the following languages:
You have the option of earning some challenge exam credit in:
- Swedish (suspended for AY 2021-2022)
1. Verify with your advisor that you may use the Global Languages and Cultures Proficiency Exam service to verify your knowledge of a foreign language.
2. After receiving your advisor’s approval to proceed, contact Alexandria McConocha to receive additional screening and instructions.
3. If you have chosen to take an exam offered via BYU, complete the FLATS Registration Form for Testing through Online Correspondence.
Under “Proctor Information” and “Results Sent To” provide the following:
Ms. Alexandria McConocha
Global Languages and Cultures
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6004
This will cost $50, which you will pay online. Do not select “Hold results so student will be the only one to receive a copy of the results.”
4. Pay the Global Languages proctoring fee of $35.
At the time of the exam, present BOTH receipts and valid identification. You will have 2.5 hours to complete the BYU test. Once you have finished, Global Languages will return the test to BYU for grading and report back to you and your advisor whether you achieved the necessary proficiency in the foreign language. The turnaround time at BYU is approximately two weeks.
ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Accordion Closed
Some NAU degrees require students to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English at the 4th semester level (202). To accommodate some students who graduated from a secondary school (high school) where the primary language of instruction was English and are proficient in a language other than English that is not taught or tested at NAU, students can now take the ACTFL OPI exam through Language Testing International (LTI) to meet that requirement.
Students must have the certificate of completion sent directly from LTI to their advisor or college of degree (getting the mailing address information from their advisor). In order for students to meet their language requirement at the 202 level they must receive a minimum rating of “Intermediate Low” on this exam.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Per NAU policy 100810 students can stop here if the primary language of instruction at the high school they graduated from was not English because, if so, they have ALREADY met the language proficiency requirement at the 202 level.
The process is as follows:
- Once students have completed their research and know they can proceed with this exam, they start here – choose the language from the dropdown option and press the “Get Certified” button: Language Testing International (LTI)
- From the next page choose from the Students/Teachers column the General Proficiency ACTFL option and then click on the “Choose Test” button.
- From the Speaking column choose the ACTFL OPI option and then click on the Select Test button, it will light up in blue so that you can then click the orange “Continue to Schedule” button in the lower right.
- The language first chosen should show up on the top of the page and the only proctoring option should be Web-Based Proctoring – Examity. It it is not the only option, choose it now.
- Continue filling out this page as appropriate to the appropriate circumstances and preferences. Students should BE SURE they scroll to the bottom and choose to have the certificate sent to NAU – there is an additional charge for this service but NAU requires it. Students cannot present their certificates to NAU themselves. Then click on “Next”.
- At this point students can create an account with LTI or log in if they already have an account so that they can check out.
If students, advisors, or faculty mentors at NAU have any questions, or need assistance, please contact Alexandria McConocha, Academic Program Coordinator, Department of Global Languages & Cultures, or by phone @ 928-523-6237.
Bilingual Education Endorsements
Verification of proficiency in a spoken language other than English or Sign Language, verified by the language department of an accredited institution except in the case of Spanish and American Indian languages.
Spanish language proficiency shall be demonstrated by passing the Arizona Classroom Spanish Proficiency Examination approved by the Board and is not offered at NAU in Flagstaff but rather ASU in Phoenix. This exam is now offered free of charge at our NAU Yuma campus; however, there is no link to sign up so please contact Alma Sandigo for more information.
American Indian language proficiency shall be verified by an official designated by the appropriate tribe. The official for the Navajo tribe and, thus Navajo Language, is currently unknown to us here at NAU. Please contact the Navajo Nation’s Division of Dine Education, Dine Culture/Language Department, P.O. Box 670 – Window Rock, AZ 86515: Phone Number (928) 871-7660 for further information on who their replacement for NAU Emerita Dr. Evangeline Parsons Yazzie will be.