Language Credit By Exam

Did you learn to speak and write a language other than English outside of school? Maybe it is the language of your home, or maybe you spent many months/years learning it in another country. If this sounds like you, you should know that Harrisonburg High School offers language credit by exam. You can earn 1, 2, or even 3 language credits by proving what you can do in both speaking and writing!

Are your language skills good enough? To earn credit for a level, you need to have the speaking AND writing skills for that level.

Novice High (1 Credit)
Speaking I can provide basic information on familiar topics using phrases and simple sentences. Example: I can tell many sentences about the city where I live.
Writing I can write descriptions and short messages to request or provide information on familiar topics using phrases and simple sentences. Example: I can write a note asking a stranger about what their school is like.

Intermediate Low (2 Credits)
Speaking I can provide information on familiar topics using a series of
sentences with some details.
Example: I can say many detailed sentences about what I do during the weekend.
Writing I can write on familiar topics and experiences using a series of sentences with some details. Example: I can write about a sport I enjoy using many details.

Intermediate Mid (3 Credits)
Speaking I can describe experiences, events, and plans, give opinions, narrate a story, and make a simple factual presentation using connected sentences with many details. Example: I can tell a story with many details about a book that I like.
Writing I can write communications, descriptions, and explanations on familiar topics using connected sentences with many details.. Example: I can write a letter describing my school day using connected sentences with many details.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why would I do this? An advanced diploma requires either 3 credits in one language or 2 credits in 2 different languages, so this can help you earn an advanced diploma. It is also a nice thing to have on your transcript as you apply for colleges. Additionally, it can be your proof of proficiency so you can earn a Seal of Biliteracy on your high school diploma!

Which languages are available?  We try to make this opportunity for students in any language. We use the Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) for students testing in most languages including Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, Greek (Modern), Korean, Persian Farsi, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu, or Vietnamese.

If an official WPT is not available for the language you speak (for example, Kurdish and Tigrinya), then we provide an alternate writing test which is scored by a native speaker of the language.

Students testing for American Sign Language can be accommodated through a partnership with the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.

What is the exam like? The official WPT exams we use are computerized. You will see instructions (in English) on the screen and then type your answers. It is important to be comfortable typing on an American keyboard in the language you test in. Plan on spending about 2.5 hours total on testing.

How do I study for this exam? You don’t really need to study for this exam since it is testing your general proficiency, but if you want to warm up you could practice a conversation with other speakers of the language or read some magazine articles in the language. You might also try writing a letter to a friend or relative in the language to practice.

When do I get my scores? About 2 weeks after your test we will get the results back. They are rated by people who do not know you and are only judging your proficiency based on the evidence you give in the test. Your guidance counselor will let you know how you did when we receive results.

Can I re-take the exam if I do poorly? Because these exams are expensive, we do not usually give retakes. However, if you have a significant language learning experience after taking an exam (for example, spending the entire summer in a place where the language is spoken) you can ask to retake the exam and a decision will be made on a case by case basis.

Other questions? See your guidance counselor or email Mr. Aldrich, Foreign Language Coordinator.