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Salem State University | Department of World Languages & Cultures | Language Resource Center

Language Placement

For more general information about placement in a language course, and for placement on languages other than Spanish, go to this Web page at the Department of World Languages & Cultures' site.

Spanish Placement test

The Department of World Languages & Cultures at Salem State University has adopted a Web-based placement test for Spanish. All students who want to take a Spanish language class and who have had prior academic or life experience with the Spanish language before must take this placement test.

The Spanish Language Placement Exam provided is the Spanish WebCAPE Web-based Computer-Adaptive Placement Exam (by Jerry Larson and Kim Smith, Web version by Charles Bush ©1998 Humanities Research Center, Brigham Young University).

You can take the test at one of the computers at the Language Resource Center or from any Web-enabled computer anywhere in the world.

If you want to know about other placement tests (NOT used at Salem State, click here.

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WebCAPE instructions

Keep the following details in mind:

  • You must go to the SSU WebCAPE Page to access the test.
  • You will be asked for a password. The password is: vikings1).
  • When you click the begin button, On the page that loads, you will have to fill out the Student Information survey: (ID# (your student ID), email address so you can receive your test results), and Survey about your language experience. Fill out as much as you can, but don't spend too much time on it. This information may be helpful to us to determine the right placement for you.
  • Now you are ready to begin the test: Back on the page where you filled out your name, etc., click the Begin Exam button.
  • The first question is a test question. Read the directions carefully. Then you will be given random questions, from very easy to very hard. That is how the program determines where you belong, by narrowing down the range and finding the right ballpark for you.
  • After the program determines your score, which may take from 10 minutes to half an hour, the test is over you go back to the beginning page. There you will see your score. Don't forget to click the SUBMIT button! That will allow you to receive the complete information by email. The full test results will also be received by the Language Resource Center.

The WebCAPE test will suggest placement in a particular course (SPN 101, 102, 201, 202, etc.) depending on your score.

SSU recommendations
(check with the chairperson or your instructor if borderline or if you have any questions)

SPN 101
SPN 102
SPN 201
SPN 202, SPN 212

below 250
above 500

Note also that this placement test will seem rather hard for students who know little Spanish. That is because the test is designed to accommodate students at all levels, from beginner to advanced. The test is supposed to adjust the level of difficulty of the questions depending on the answers you give. Of course, if you guess correctly at a difficult question, the program may think that you know more than you do and send you more difficult questions. Don't worry. Eventually it will catch on.

Finally, DOT NOT USE these numbers to place yourself in a particular classs without first checking with a faculty member in the Spanish program. Always consult with a Spanish instructor before selecting a particular course.

NOTE 1: If you have concerns about being placed at too high a level, please mention this to your instructor when you inform him or her about your results in order to determine your placement level. Please do not do worse on the test than you could on purpose to be placed in an "easier" class. If you have a legitimate concern, your instructor will be happy to address it. Also, please provide complete and truthful information as to your language background as well (failure to do so may result in level changes or dropping from the course during the semester).

NOTE 2: This placement test cannot be used for the purpose of being exempted from the language requirement. If you would like to be exempted from taking Spanish or other language courses, you should take the CLEP or other nationally recognized test which is acceptable to the Department of World Languages & Cultures. See the department secretary or chairperson for more information.

Click here to go to the SSU WebCAPE Page
to take the Spanish Placement test
(you will need the password vikings1)

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Other Placement Tests

For other languages, or to get a second opinion on Spanish, students may use the following online placement tests on their own. The results will not be sent to us.

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Salem State University | Department of World Languages & Cultures | Language Resource Center

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Last updated: June 22, 2006