Foreign Languages

Assessment Tests

Credit-by-Exam (CREX)

Students with experience in Chinese or Japanese may receive academic credit for such experience through a program of “testing out” (for French, German and Spanish see Placement Exam). The guidelines for testing out of a course require that the student be enrolled in the University at the time of the examination and be working toward a degree at Missouri Southern. The student must complete all “test out” examinations with a grade of at least 70% (“C”) before a grade is issued in a more advanced language course. The student may not have taken an examination within the preceding six months for a given course. The examination may not be used to replace a previously earned grade. Please, refer to the MSSU 2010-2012 catalog for details.

NOTE: Foreign Languages Department “test out” exams are NOT CLEP or Advanced Placement exams.  Your exam results are applicable to Missouri Southern State University only.

A student may test out of the first four courses of a language - 101, 102, 203, 204, by following these procedures.

  1. Speak to the department secretary to determine who will test you.
  2. Make an appointment with that faculty member.
  3. Pay the Student Account $30.00 per test and get the receipt.
  4. Go to the previously made appointment with the receipt in hand.

After you take the exam, it will be graded and brought, along with the receipt, to the department secretary to process. The credit for the language level will appear on your transcripts as soon as the processing is completed, generally within a few weeks.

Contact the department to hear results and/or enroll in a foreign language course.

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Cultural Competency

In addition to linguistics, foreign language graduates must demonstrate they have acquired a general knowledge of culture within their target language. The Cultural Competency Assessment (CCA) is a required senior assessment modeled after the PRAXIS exam and encompasses several key areas including history, literature, lifestyles, sociolinguistics, and geography. The CCA is twenty-five questions in length and takes approximately thirty minutes to complete.

This assessment is free of charge to graduates.

Double language majors may request a day and time other than Senior Assessment Day to take the CCA for their second major.

2010 Cultural Competency Topics

French Study Guide | German Study Guide | Spanish Study Guide

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Minnesota Language Proficiency Assessments

As part of Senior Assessment, foreign language graduates are required to take the Minnesota Language Proficiency Assessments for Reading and Listening. These assessments gauge a student's ability to read and listen at the Intermediate High level, the required level for graduates. This level meets benchmarks set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The reading portion has the student answer questions based on given passages or sentences. The listening portion has the student answer questions based on heard conversations or narratives. Each assessment is thirty-five questions in length and takes approximately fifty minutes to complete.

This assessment is free of charge to graduates.

Double language majors may request a day and time other than Senior Assessment Day to take the MLPA for their second major.

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Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)

The Oral Proficiency Interview is a thirty-minute interview that gauges oral (speaking) proficiency in a particular language and is conducted over the Internet using the Department of Foreign Languages lab computers. This form of assessment is required for foreign language majors as part of Senior Assessment and those wishing to enter the Medical Interpretation Spanish/English Program. The OPI is recorded and rated officially by Language Testing International (LTI) according to required benchmarks set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), an internationally recognized authority on foreign language standards.

Students may use their ratings for resumes, job interviews and portfolios. The Department of Foreign Languages keeps an official certificate of ratings available upon student request, however a student also may request an official copy from Language Testing International. Note: Some links may direct you to sites not associated with our institution. These sites may offer general or specific information independent from the agencies that administer or support the programs above. MSSU or the Department of Foreign Languages does not take responsibility for the content of these sites, attest to their validity or encourage memberships with them. 

To request a copy of OPI Frequently Asked Questions and/or set up a mock or official interview contact the department. This pdf gives some information to Seniors who are about to take the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) for graduation.

Call for pricing and applicable fees information.

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Placement Exam

Students with previous foreign language experience in French, German or Spanish (for Chinese and Japanese (see Credit-by-Exam) must be examined for proficiency to ensure proper enrollment in a foreign language course.  The exam has two assessments: Reading and Listening.  Each assessment is approximately 50 minutes in length and has multiple choices.  No materials are available to study for this exam.

NOTE: Foreign Languages Department placement exams are NOT CLEP or Advanced Placement exams.  Your exam results are applicable to Missouri Southern State University only and DO NOT give you credit. See footnote for credit options.

Exam Policies:

  • Anyone may take the placement exam for a personal or academic gauge of language proficiency.
  • No one is allowed to take the exam more than twice for the same language.
  • No one is allowed to take the exam again within a month of the first examination for the same language.
  • Placement exams do not establish credit or retroactive credit for any language.
  • The Department of Foreign Languages reserves the right to release exam results for the purposes of accreditation, assessment, institutional research and department use.
  •  The Department of Foreign Languages reserves the right to appropriately enroll students whose results are considered borderline (i.e. a score within 5 points of a cut-off score) in a foreign language course.
  • All examinees must sign a placement exam card thereby acknowledging that the examinee has read, understood and agreed to the above policies.

To take the placement exam:

  1. Come to the Department of Foreign Languages in Webster Hall room 353 and pick up a placement exam card describing the exam policies and fee form to read. 
  2. Pay the $30.00 examination fee at department secretary's office (WH353) and get and sign a receipt.
  3. Take the computerized exam in the ILRC computer lab.  After completing the exam, please wait at least 24 hours for exam processing before contacting the department to hear the results. 
  4. Contact the department to enroll in a foreign language course.

*Upon successful completion of a higher language course a student may petition to receive credit for lower courses. See Earn Retroactive Credit under Department Assessments.

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Retroactive Credit Program

MSSU students may qualify for credit for previous foreign language experience.  Language learning in courses prior to entering MSSU can be validated by successfully completing a language course higher than the entry level (101) course at MSSU with a grade of “C” or better.  A student with prior language experience may apply for credits for lower level language courses (retroactive credit) after successfully completing a higher level language course.  S/he may earn a maximum of twelve hours of retroactive credits for a foreign language. The number of credits received by the student petitioner depends on the level of the language course taken by the student (102, 203, etc.) and on that student's successful fulfillment of each of the procedures described below.  The student should fill out a Retroactive Language Credit Request Form and follow the procedures described on that form in order to be considered for retroactive credit.  If a student earned retroactive credit at another campus, admissions will normally allow the credits to transfer.

To be eligible to earn foreign language retroactive credits…
A.…the language course must be an in-house course of the same language at a higher level,

  • The course taken to establish eligibility for claiming retroactive credit for lower level courses must be a course at a level higher than 101 at MSSU.
  • If a student transfers college-level credit of a language course taken somewhere else, s/he cannot use the transferred course to claim retroactive credits for lower level courses at MSSU in that language.  S/he must take a language course higher than the transferred course at MSSU to earn retroactive credits for lower level courses.
  • If a student drops a language course, s/he may take the same course again or a different level course to be eligible for claiming retroactive credits for lower level courses after the successful completion of the course.

B. …AND the course must be designated appropriate for earning retroactive credits,

  • The course taken to establish the eligibility for claiming retroactive credits for lower level courses must be designated appropriate for earning retroactive credits by the Department of Foreign Languages.
  • Not all courses that offer retroactive credits are available each semester. The student should contact the appropriate language program for more details.

C.…AND the student must fulfill the stated requirements of the course and earn the appropriate grade ("C" or better).

  • However, the retroactive credits themselves do not receive letter grades, nor are they counted toward residence requirements. They DO NOT replace grades for any classes already taken.
  • Successfully earned retroactive credits do count toward the overall credit hours needed for graduation.  They may also be used to satisfy other foreign language requirements including area 5 requirement of the core curriculum, major or minor basic language sequence requirement, and general foreign language requirement for BA students.  Consult the Department of Foreign Languages for more details

D....AND the student must submit the properly completed Retroactive Language Credit Request Form (available at the Department of Foreign Languages) in a timely fashion.

Complete List of Equivalencies:

Course Taken Eligible retroactive credits for lower level courses
102 3 hrs. credit
203 up to 6 hrs. credit
204 up to 9 hrs. credit
Upper Division courses up to 12 hrs. credit

Retroactive Credit Cost:

Students must pay a fee equal $15 per credit requested. No credit will be awarded until the appropriate fee is paid to the Business Office and the receipt is presented to the Foreign Languages Department.

For example:

A student places into 203, takes that course and earns a “B” grade; the student has followed A through D above to earn credit for 101 and 102. NOTE: All foreign language courses are 3 credit hours.

S/he pays:

Course                                                    Cost
101                  ($15.00 x 3 credit hours) $45.00
102                  ($15.00 x 3 credit hours) $45.00

Total                                                      $90.00

The student now has retroactive credit (no letter grades) for 101 and 102 and academic credit (letter grade of “B”) for 203.

Contact the department for any questions or concerns.

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Senior Assessment

Every graduate of Missouri Southern is required to be assessed for General Education performance and Major Field of Study performance.

General Education performance is handled through the Center for Assessment & Institutional Research which uses the computerized Measure of Academic Proficiency & Progress (MAPP) assessment. Graduates should receive a letter from that office to inform them when General Education assessments will be and what time to schedule.

For Major Field performance, our department uses a combination of four assessments which includes the computerized Minnesota Language Profiiciency Assessments for Reading/Listening (MLPA), the Cultural Competency Assessment (CCA), and the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Students graduating in May, July or December of the same calendar year must complete all three assessments in the Spring semester of that year, unless special circumstances arise, in which case the student should petition the Head of the Department of Foreign Languages. Graduates should receive a letter from the department to inform them when Major Field assessments will be and how to schedule their OPIs.

On Senior Assessment Day, usually held in February of spring semesters, all graduates take MAPP assessment either in the morning or afternoon. Depending on MAPP scheduling, foreign language graduates take the computerized MLPA (Reading/Listening) and the CCA earlier or later that day.

From mid-February through April, foreign language graduates take the Oral Proficiency Interview. See Department Assessments for specific information. Graduates schedule their OPIs through the department secretary.

See What You Should Know If Graduating From MSSU for procedural information.

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