All students pursuing a B.A. degree must satisfy the college-level foreign language requirement, which in Florida is met through satisfactory completion (C or better) of a second-level language course.  USFSM accepts many languages to fill this requirement; students seeking to have credit accepted or to demonstrate competency for exemption, should discuss this with their academic advisor.

At USFSM, students can meet the foreign language requirement through the study of two (2) languages:

Spanish Course Sequence (accepted in all degree programs)

  • SPN 1120 Beginning Spanish I (4 credits) – for those with no previous Spanish language experience
  • SPN 1110 Introductory Spanish for High Beginners (3 credits) – an alternative to SPN 1120
  • SPN 1121 Beginning Spanish II (4 credits) – must be completed or exempted

American Sign Language Course Sequence (accepted in some degree programs)

  • ASL  2140C Basic American Sign Language I (4 credits)
  • ASL  2150C Intermediate American Sign Language (4 credits)

Spanish Language Placement

In Spanish, it is possible to exempt one or both courses through a placement test.  The placement test assesses the student’s skills level to indicate the appropriate class for the student to enter.  By taking the placement test, students can avoid spending time, effort, and money on unnecessary classes.

Students must take the placement test

  • If they have taken one (1) or more years of high-school Spanish,
  • If the test indicates that one’s skills level is equal to accomplishment of SPN 1120, one may exempt that course and enter SPN 1121.
  • If the test indicates that one’s skills level is below the accomplishment of SPN 1120, one may take SPN 1110 (3 credits) to raise one’s competency to what will be needed to enter SPN 1121.  Or one may elect to take SPN 1120 (4 credits), but if one elects this option, one  will earn only an S/U grade.

Students may take the placement test

  • If they grew up speaking Spanish with family and friends
    • Depending on one’s assessed skills level, one may exempt none, one, or both courses.
  • If they took SPN 1120 at USF more than two terms previously
    • If the test indicates that one’s skills level is below the accomplishment of SPN 1120, one may retake SPN 1120 if qualified for “grade forgiveness”
    • Or one may pay to audit SPN 1120 or SPN 1110 as space allows.
  • If they took college Spanish elsewhere.
    • If the test indicates that one’s skills level is below the accomplishment of SPN 1120, one may pay to audit SPN 1120 or SPN 1110 as space allows.

Spanish Language Competency Levels

The USFSM Spanish language placement test identifies four levels of language competency, based on the National Proficiency Guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL, 2012).

Competency Description Placement
Novice-Low
  • A Novice-Low learner of a foreign language is only able to use an extremely limited vocabulary, often inadequately.
  • These learners are unable to provide any type of significant information in the target language, as their use of it is often repetitive and incorrect.
  • There is a prevalent use of invented words among these learners.
  • They are totally unable to produce complete sentences or even coherent phrases in the target language, and are often not understood by a sympathetic listener
A student whose performance on the placement test is rated as “Novice-Low” will be placed in SPN 1120.
Novice-Mid
  • A Novice-Mid learner of a foreign language is able to use a limited number of words and phrases for common objects or actions and to provide basic information.
  • Vocabulary is repetitive, and the learner constantly uses memorized words, lists and phrases.
  • Their use of complete sentences is very occasional, and accuracy tends to decrease when the student communicates beyond the word or memorized phrase level.
  • These learners can be understood, albeit with considerable level of difficultly, by a sympathetic listener.
A student whose performance on the placement test is rated as “Novice-Mid” will be placed in SPN 1110.
Novice High
  • A Novice-High learner of a foreign language is able, among other things, to use familiar words and phrases on familiar tasks, topics, and activities, apart from elaborating a little with the target language, mainly in the present tense.
  • Normally, this learner will communicate in short, simple sentences.
  • The learner should be able to engage in some creation with the target language through recombination of memorized words and phrases.
  • Breakdown is expected as the learner is asked to engage in more complex conversation or written production.
  • These learners can be understood, albeit with some level of difficultly, by a sympathetic listener.
A student whose performance on the placement test is rated as “Novice-High” will be placed in SPN 1121.
Intermediate-Low
  • An Intermediate-Low learner of a foreign language is able to use that language successfully in a limited number of uncomplicated social situations.
  • These situations normally include exchanges about general personal information, daily routine, personal preferences and urgent needs (for example, getting directions, ordering food, asking for help, etc.).
  • This learner is capable of creating with the target language by recombining what he or she knows and what he or she hears from their interlocutors.
  • This learner is able to produce short statements, discrete sentences and to ask a limited number of questions, mostly in the present tense.
  • An Intermediate-Low learner will be generally understood by a native speaker of the language, although misunderstandings will be frequent.

 

A student whose performance on the placement test is rated “Intermediate-Low” or above will be exempt from taking Spanish courses to meet the foreign language requirement.