World Language Competency Testing

  • Students who speak, read, and write a language other than English can earn world language credits in high school by demonstrating proficiency. Students who demonstrate proficiency on nationally recognized proficiency assessments are able to receive competency credits on their high school transcript.

    REGISTRATION LINK - Registration closes January 27, 2020.

    Exam - Saturday, February 8, 2020  Bainbridge High School

    Step 1:

    Determine if You’re Eligible

    Take a moment to think about your current language skills in the language that you wish to be tested in (not English). If you can answer “Yes, I can do this fairly easily” to each statement, then you will probably be able to earn at least 1-2 credits when you take the language test. If you can answer “Yes, I can do this very easily” to all of the statements, then you may be able to earn 3-4 credits when you get tested.
    I can understand ideas on familiar topics expressed through phrases, short sentences, and frequently used expressions.
    I can understand the main idea and some details in simple texts that contain familiar vocabulary.
    Person-to-Person Communication
    I can exchange information with another person about familiar tasks, topics and activities.
    Spoken Production
    I can use a series of phrases and sentences to provide basic information about familiar topics.
    I can write simple descriptions and short messages and request or provide information on familiar topics.


    Step 2:

    Learn more about the tests and earning credits

    You can take a sample test in several languages by navigating to the  Avant Stamp website. This will give students a good idea about what they can expect during the test.
    Information from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) about World Languages.

    Step 3:

    Register for Testing

    Students in grades 7-12 or their parents can make an appointment with their student's school counselor and sign up for testing. Registration closes on January 27th. The test will be administered at Bainbridge High School on Saturday, February 8th. Check in will be at 8:30 AM.  Testing times can vary based on how quickly the student moves through the sections, but it is generally 3-4 hours. 

    Step 4:

    Pay for Testing

    After registration closes, families of students who have registered will receive an email with a link to the payment site. The tests vary in cost depending on the language.  Most tests cost between $30-$50 but a few others are more expensive.  Scholarship support is available.  This information will be provided in the email about payment.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I study?

    The test is based on language proficiency. “what individuals can do with language in terms of speaking, writing, listening, and reading in real-world situations in a spontaneous and non-rehearsed context” – See more at: ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012.
    Although it is not possible to study for a language proficiency test in a traditional sense, you can practice the four skills and ask for feedback from educated native speakers in your community.
    • Reading: understanding current events websites and children’s stories
    • Writing: writing email, short informational articles and anecdotes about what you did in the past
    • Speaking: talking about your life as well as current events
    • Listening: podcasts or radio

    How are the Credits Calculated?

    The credits are calculated based on highest proficiency level across the skills of reading, writing, and speaking. The student must demonstrate proficiency in all the skills to earn the credits. For the ALTA test the reading/writing are bundled together as is the speaking/listening. To meet these requirements, we use the lowest proficiency level to calculate the scores not an average or sum.
    Lowest STAMP Score
    Lowest ILR
    Lowest Proficiency Level
    Novice Low
    Novice Mid
    Novice High
    Intermediate Low
    Intermediate Mid
    6 or Higher
    1+ or Higher
    Intermediate High or Higher

    Do the World Language Competency Credits meet the high school graduation requirements?

    If a student earns two or more credits they will meet the Washington High School graduation requirements. This will allow them to pursue another language or field of study.  

    Do colleges recognize the competency credits?

    Most Washington Universities also accept these credits for entrance requirements. Be sure to check with the universities of interest to your student as soon as possible. More and more universities are also moving to proficiency-based testing for placement and testing.

    Can I take the test more than once to earn more credit?

    Students may re-take the test once a year when offered to earn more credit. Additional credit is awarded if the student earns a higher score on the test, not by adding credits together.  
    What is important to understand is that a student may not earn two credits for the same course.  For example, if a student passes Spanish Level 1 and 2, that student would earn two high school credits - one for Spanish I and one for Spanish II.  However, if a child has already taken Spanish I at school and has earned a credit for that course from their school coursework, they would not earn an additional credit for Spanish I. The student already earned that credit at school. If he/she passed Spanish I at school but then also passed Spanish II on the proficiency exam, the student would earn the one additional credit for Spanish II through the exam and would end up with a total of two credits - Spanish I earned at school and Spanish II earned through the test.  This can be confusing, so students and/or parents are welcome to call the contact number below and discuss to help decide if this is a good option for a particular student.  
    Questions?  Contact Sheryl Belt, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction,, 206.780.1067.