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Language Placement and Proficiency
Welcome to the language division of the German Department at UVA!
The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures welcomes all students who wish to study German at UVA! Julia Gutterman is the department’s Director of Undergraduate Programs/Language Coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Email Prof. Gutterman with any questions about German such as the German minor and major, the German language sequence, or the placement diagnostic.
Beginning May 1, 2022: New language placement diagnostic (PLACE)
UVA has adopted a new PLACE language placement diagnostic for students seeking to determine their course placement in French, Italian, German, or Spanish. The new PLACE diagnostic will be used for all placement purposes for these languages beginning May 1, 2022.
The PLACE diagnostic assesses writing, reading, speaking, and contextualized grammar knowledge and skills, and takes about 30-60 minutes to complete. PLACE should be completed at least 10 days in advance of course enrollment. Your score will appear in SIS when it is available.
Students who have completed an earlier placement exam at UVA should review these instructions.
Placement in German
All entering students who have prior experience in learning German, but who have not taken the SAT II or AP German exam, must take the online PLACE language placement diagnostic in German. See below for information on how and when to take the PLACE language placement diagnostic.
Entering students who have taken the AP exam in German, but who will not receive their AP scores until after summer orientation, should go ahead and take the online PLACE language placement diagnostic in German to get a general idea of the appropriate placement before registering for fall classes.
Transfer students who did not receive transfer credit for previous German courses should take the online PLACE language placement diagnostic in German. Transfer students who received transfer credit for elementary or intermediate-level German courses from another institution should continue with the next level of German here at UVA.
The sequence of German courses at UVA is GERM 1010, GERM 1020, GERM 2010, and GERM 2020. Once a student has placed into and completed one of these courses, they must complete the rest of the courses in the sequence to satisfy the language requirement. Students may not skip courses in the sequence.
Part 1: Taking the PLACE Diagnostic
Who should take the PLACE language placement diagnostic?
Only students who have studied German prior to entering UVA need to take the PLACE diagnostic. Students with no experience taking courses in that language should not take the PLACE diagnostic but should start the language at the 1010 level.
When should I take the language placement diagnostic?
All Students: Take the diagnostic at least 10 days before registration to ensure receipt of your score in time to enroll. Delays in taking this diagnostic may result in delayed registration for your language course.
New Students: The PLACE language diagnostic should be completed before the date sent to new students in the May welcome letter.
Why do I need to take the placement diagnostic in advance?
The language placement diagnostic includes writing and speaking questions that are reviewed by trained raters. This process can take several days. Take the diagnostic at least 10 days before registration to ensure receipt of your score in time to enroll.
How do I take the diagnostic?
- You will need:
- At least one hour of focused time
- Your UVA computing ID (for ex, mst3k)
- A computer with microphone (your built-in microphone is usually sufficient)
- A strong internet connection and Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge (view a list of supported browsers and devices and try a sample of PLACE in German before you begin.
- Take the diagnostic with your official @virginia.edu email address only. Accessing the exam from another email address is an Honor violation.
- Please note: Diagnostics will only be scored if they include
- your UVA computing ID (for example: mst3k) in the fields marked Login Name and Test Taker ID
- your UVA email address
- Scores will only be available via UVA SIS.
- Using outside resources of any kind is not permitted and will constitute an Honor violation.
- The diagnostic may be taken only once in any language.
- Begin the PLACE placement diagnostic at https://app.avantassessment.com using the test code and password below
Test Code for German: 19833-pl-gr-3
Password for German: 3459
Please use your UVA Computing ID (example: mst3k) as the TEST TAKER ID and LOGIN ID. Use only your UVA email address in taking this diagnostic.
- If you experience technical difficulties, your diagnostic will not be lost. Use the Avant Assessment Technology Guide to assess the problem and resume the diagnostic where you left off by re-logging on with the same identifying information you provided previously. You must contact the Placement Coordinator if you would like to request a retake of the diagnostic.
What is the diagnostic like? Can I take a sample test?
You will be asked questions that evaluate your abilities in reading, writing, and speaking, as well as your knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. All questions are completed online, asynchronously, and individually. You will not interact with a person during the exam. On average, this diagnostic takes up to 60 minutes to complete. No time limit is in place, and you may take as much time as you need. You can explore a sample of the pre-diagnostic survey and diagnostic questions before you begin.
Can I use a dictionary or other resources?
Using outside resources of any kind is not permitted and will constitute an Honor violation. Submission of the diagnostic in your name means that the score honestly reflects your current language abilities without assistance from other people or any materials.
I need tech support.
Technical difficulties: if you experience technical difficulties, your diagnostic will not be lost. Use the Avant Assessment Technology Guide to assess the problem and resume the diagnostic where you left off by re-logging on with the same identifying information you provided previously. You must contact the Placement Coordinator if you would like to request a retake of the diagnostic.
Part 2: Scores and Placement FAQ
How do I get my score?
Your diagnostic is sent for evaluation by a trained test rater. This is why you need to take this diagnostic at least 10 days before you register for classes. When it becomes available, your score will be transferred to SIS, where you can access it at any time under Academics > Test Scores.
What does my score mean?
Access the German Placement Chart to see full placement levels.
Who else sees my score?
The placement coordinator and program director will be able to access your score and additional details of your performance on the diagnostic.
How do I enroll in a language course once I have my score?
- Access your placement score in SIS (it will be available within a max of 10 days). Please plan accordingly by taking the diagnostic 10 days before registration.
- Use the German Placement Chart to identify your appropriate course. Note: if you have other test scores (AP, etc.) for this language, use the HIGHER of your scores to determine your placement.
- Taking the placement diagnostic does not guarantee you a spot in a language course. Space is limited. If you are unable to secure a space, you can join the waitlist for course(s) for which you are eligible.
You must enroll in the course in which you have placed according to your diagnostic score. Enrolling in a course level other than that indicated by your placement score will result in a grade of F or no credit. However, if your score is lower than what you expected for your background and believe that you should place higher, we encourage you to contact Professor Julia Gutterman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Are there other ways to determine my placement?
Yes, AP, SAT II, and IB scores may be used to determine your placement and/or to satisfy the World Language Requirement. Refer to the German Placement Chart for further information, or access the A&S World Language Placement FAQ page.
What if I have a score from the UVA Placement Diagnostic and a score from the AP Exam, IB Exam, or another placement test?
UVA uses the highest placement indicated by your scores. If your UVA placement diagnostic score placed you into the 2010 level and your AP or IB exam score placed you into the 2020 level, you must enroll in the higher level – in this case, the 2020 level.
How do I bring printed evidence of my score to class?
Students can take a screenshot of their score in SIS under Academics > Test Scores, print it and bring it to class.
What if I ‘place out’ of the language course sequence?
A score beyond the level of the required course sequence will be reported to the A&S Registrar by the end of the semester. No action is needed on the part of the student.
Can I retake the placement diagnostic?
No. Taking the diagnostic more than once is an honor violation. If you feel that your circumstances warrant a re-take, you will need permission from the Language Program Director.
I took the diagnostic before May 2022. Do I need to take it again?
If you completed the UVA world language diagnostic in French, German, Italian, or Spanish prior to May 2022, you do not need to retake the diagnostic. To access and screenshot or print your score, log in to the previous diagnostic portal (Emmersion). You will be able to reset your password if you have forgotten it. Determine your placement by consulting the German Placement Chart.
I’ve placed out of GERM 2020 and satisfied the language requirement. What should I do now?
Students who satisfy the world language requirement in the College by completion of GERM 2020 or equivalent test scores as noted above are strongly encouraged to continue their study of the language. Descriptions of our 3000 level GERM courses are available on our website. Please contact the DUP in German (Julia Gutterman email@example.com) for more information.
Graduate Language Exams
Please register for the exam a minimum of one week in advance. Forms must be accompanied by a $20.00 check written to the University of Virginia.
Note: This form can also be found in the German Department Main Office located in New Cabell Hall room 258.
The Mastery Exam
The exam consists of three parts. The time limit is TWO HOURS. Include in your pledge a statement to the effect that you have completed the exam within the allowed time limit. You can use the computer and the exam must be double-spaced and pledged. You may use a dictionary (NOT an online dictionary).
Translate at least 200 words (counting the German, excluding numbers and dates). Once you begin, the 200 words must be consecutive--do not skip any sentences. Inset quotations in English or other foreign languages do not count towards the word total. Do not translate footnotes. (45%)
Answer 6 out of the 8 questions concerning the text. The answers should be short, specific and IN ENGLISH. Write in complete sentences. (45%)
Write a short essay (150 words) in German on the topic given below. (10%)
The Proficiency Exam
Translate a minimum of 250 German words, not including dates, numbers, or non-German quotations, from the enclosed passage. You have 90 minutes. You may use a dictionary. You may begin anywhere in the text. Once you begin, the 250 words must be consecutive--do NOT skip any sentences. Inset quotations in English or other foreign languages do not count towards the word total.
According to the University of Virginia Graduate Record, the passage must be translated into an adequate, if not literary, English and the student must demonstrate a clear understanding of syntactical structures and some basic knowledge of cultural references (50-51). Strive for a clear and accurate rendition of the text rather than for an excessively long translation. In any event, do not exceed 750 words. To pass, you must show a basic understanding of the main ideas/content of the passage. To fail, you must translate three or more sentences in a way that shows a major lack of understanding. You will automatically fail, if you open the exam, and decide not to take it. RETURN the GERMAN text with your translation.
Pledge the exam in accordance with the Honor Code; inasmuch as this is a timed examination, indicate cleary in your pledge how long you have taken. The exam is due in the German department office by 4:00 p.m. of the exam day