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.
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. Notice will be sent to schools regarding registration as soon as possible.
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 added to the student transcript in January. Credits may also fulfill the World Languages requirement for the Advanced Studies Diploma.
The exam is for students in grades 7 through 12 who have proficiency in one of these 30 languages:
- American Sign Language
- Chinese (Mandarin)
Greek, Hebrew, Portuguese and Turkish exams use the Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) by Language Testing International. The format of the WPT is different from the FCPS World Languages Credit Exam (see When you take the exam, below). It is a timed test. Read more about the Writing Proficiency Test or ask your school counselor for more information.
Students must be able to read and comprehend exam instructions and writing prompts in the exam language. The exam requires students to write two well-developed essays in the exam language. Each essay must include at least three paragraphs. Students should use complete sentences and cohesive paragraphs. The WPT requires students to answer four prompts. Students should also write on a variety of topics and personal experiences.
Requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma
The Advanced Studies Diploma requires students to earn three credits in one World Language. Students may also earn or 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. You may download a copy of the rubric at the bottom of this web page.
- The World Languages office will mail exam results to the student home in January. 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 information will be posted here as soon as it is available.
Bring a pen or pencil and a photo ID (driver's license, passport, picture school ID, etc.) on the day of the exam. Types of photo ID include:
- driver’s license
- school photo ID
- 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 not bring any books, dictionaries, or other materials into the exam room.
The WPT (for Greek, Hebrew, Portuguese and Turkish) is a timed exam and has a shorter testing time than the FCPS-designed exam.
Check-in begins at 3:45 p.m. and ends at 4:45 p.m. Exams must be completed by 7:45 p.m.
Parents and guardians are not allowed into the test center. If a parent or guardian is waiting, they must remain in the designated waiting area.
- Exam dates for November 2020 have not yet been set.
Students may bring backpacks and bags into the exam room. Bags are left at the entrance to the exam room and retrieved by the student when exiting the exam.
School Based Testing
Exam start and end times vary, depending on the school schedule and staffing limitations. Please confirm this information with your local school.
Students must abide by guidelines set by the school with respect to bringing items such as a phone, backpack or water into the test location.
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-designed exam requires students to write two well-developed essays in the exam language. Each 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.
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.
World Languages Credit Exam Rubric and Passing Ranges
The purpose of this document is to provide the reader with a description of the quality of writing that must be demonstrated to earn credit on the World Languages Credit Exam.