Credit Exam for World Languages

The FCPS Credit Exam for World Languages assesses language proficiency. The exam provides up to three World Language credits. Exam credits may also fulfill the World Languages requirement for the Advanced Studies Diploma.

What is the Credit Exam?

The exam assesses language proficiency. Students who take the exam may earn up to three pass-or-fail credits (levels one, two and three) in the language. Credits are typically added to the student transcript in January. Credits may also fulfill the World Languages requirement for the Advanced Studies Diploma. A student may participate in the exam two times per language between grades 7 through 12. In other words, students have two chances per language to earn credits by taking the exam.

Fall 2020

The 2020 Credit Exam for World Languages has been postponed until the spring of 2021. It is anticipated that results from the spring exam will be available in time for graduation. Students interested in taking the exam should contact their school counselor in early February, 2021.

Eligibility

The exam is for students in grades 7 through 12 who have proficiency in one of these 30 languages:

  • American Sign Language
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Farsi
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Nepali
  • Pashto
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Russian
  • Sanskrit
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Tigrinya
  • Turkish
  • Twi
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

Test Timing and Format: Spring 2021

In order to offer the test in all languages, while maintaining a safe testing environment, some languages will be tested online and some will be tested in person.

Online Tests

These languages will be tested online between March 2-10, 2021:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Spanish

The ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL), a Language Testing International language assessment, will be used for these languages. Students taking the AAPPL will be tested in writing only, not speaking. Read more about the AAPPL test.

In-Person Tests

In-person tests will be on Sunday, March 14, 2021 and Saturday, March 20, 2021.

These languages use the Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) from Language Testing International. The WPT is a timed test. Read more about the Writing Proficiency Test.

  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Portuguese
  • Turkish

These languages use the FCPS-developed test. It is a timed test.

  • Amharic
  • American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Bengali
  • Farsi
  • Hindi
  • Nepali
  • Pashto
  • Punjabi
  • Sanskrit
  • Somali
  • Tagalog
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Tigrinya
  • Twi
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

Proficiency Level

Students must be able to read and comprehend exam instructions and writing prompts in the exam language. The AAPPL, WPT and FCPS Credit Exam require students to write essays about personal experiences using complete sentences and cohesive paragraphs. The three exams also use equivalent proficiency ratings. Students earn credit based on the level of proficiency demonstrated by their writing.

Requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma

The Advanced Studies Diploma requires students to earn three credits in one World Language. Students may also fulfill this requirement by earning two credits in each of two different world languages. Students may earn up to three credits from the credit exam. Students who earn three credits on the credit exam will fulfill this requirement for the Advanced Studies Diploma.

Ways to Earn Additional World Language Credits

High school students may earn up to four World Languages credits from the ESOL 5720 and 5730 courses. These credits may apply toward graduation requirements and toward the Advanced Studies Diploma.

Middle school students may earn up to two World Languages credits from ESOL 5710, 5720 and 5730 courses. These credits may apply toward graduation requirements and toward the Advanced Studies Diploma.

Where the option is available, students who earn one credit on the exam may enroll in level two. Students who earn two credits on the exam may enroll in level three. The option to enroll in the next level depends on whether the language is available at the base school, academy or online. Students who earn three credits from the credit may continue their study of the language in the upper levels.

Scoring and Results

  • An assessor, who is proficient in the exam language, scores the exam. View the rubric.
  • The World Languages office will mail exam results to the student home in late April. Results are also sent to the Director of Student Services at the middle and high schools where the student attends.
  • A student may participate in the exam twice between grades 7 through 12. In other words, students have two chances to earn credits by taking the exam.

Registration

All students must register for the exam through their school counselor. Registration opens Monday, February 8, 2021, at 8 a.m. and closes on Friday, February 26, 2021 at 4 p.m. Late registrations will not be accepted.

School counselors will register students using a Google Form. Confirmation of registration will be emailed to counselors and students at the email address they provide when registering. Registration information for in-person assessments will include a check-in time/arrival time for the assessment.

Check-In Time

To maintain a safe environment for the in-person tests, students will be assigned a check-in time. No one will be admitted earlier than the check-in time printed on the registration confirmation page.

Testing Information

For in-person testing, students must bring the printed exam confirmation and a valid photo ID. Examples of valid photo ID include:

  • driver’s license
  • school photo ID
  • passport
  • yearbook picture identified with the name of the student
  • photograph labeled with the name of the student and signed by the school counselor or ESOL teacher
  • the photo ID on the student SIS account. Students may use a phone to show their ID.

Students may bring their own pencil if they wish. Cell phones are permitted but must be powered off while in the testing location. Students may not bring any books, dictionaries, or other materials into the exam room.

The FCPS Credit Exam is a timed test and lasts up to two hours. The WPT is a timed exam and lasts one hour. The AAPPL is not timed but typically lasts 30-40 minutes.

Suggestions for Students: How to Improve Performance on the Credit Exam for World Languages

Know what the assessors are looking for

Students should be able to consistently and accurately describe and narrate personal experiences. Students should be able to use complete sentences and form coherent paragraphs. There are six grading domains. A sample scoring rubric is available for download below. The exam determines whether a student would be ready to take the next level of the course; if offered in FCPS.

To prepare for the exam

The exam will be difficult for students with little or no experience writing in the language. Students should take time to practice writing paragraphs and stories before the exam. Students may download a list of practice topics from the link below. If possible, students should ask for feedback on their practice writing. A family member or a friend may be able to provide feedback. Students should remember that spelling and diacritic affect the exam score.

Good practice includes

  • Organize what you write into complete sentences.
  • Group sentences on the same topic into paragraphs.
  • Use capital letters as appropriate to the language.
  • Use correct punctuation.
  • Remember that written essays are more organized and formal than conversation.
  • Reading is a very useful practice. Magazines, stories and newspapers teach correct punctuation and spelling. Reading will also increase the breadth of vocabulary.

When you take the exam

The FCPS Credit Exam requires students to write one well-developed essay. Students will be presented with two prompts and choose one. The essay must include at least three paragraphs. Students must address the prompts presented. Students should use complete sentences and cohesive paragraphs.

The WPT identifies the student's highest writing level. The WPT includes four writing prompts. Each prompt is more difficult than the previous. The last two or three prompts of the WPT may be challenging for the student. Students should attempt to answer all four prompts. Students can earn credit without perfectly addressing all four test prompts.

The AAPPL test structure and approach are similar to the WPT.

To earn a higher score remember to elaborate on ideas and extend sentences. Also, remember to add details and use a variety of expressions. Remember to organize sentences into cohesive paragraphs and provide vivid descriptions. Remember to check punctuation, spelling, word use and clarity.

  • World Languages Themes and Topics

    The purpose of this document is to provide a list of the themes and topics that might be encountered by a student taking levels 1-2, or in sitting for the FCPS World Languages Credit Exam assessment.