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 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.

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

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.

Proficiency Level

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

Students must meet with their school counselors to register.

Registration opens on Monday, September 9, 2019, at 8 a.m. and closes on Thursday, October 10, 2019, at 4 p.m.

Late registrations will not be accepted.

Credit exam dates, times, and testing sites:

November 6, 2019 - Centreville High School Cafeteria - 4-7:45 p.m.

November 7, 2019 - Edison High School Cafeteria - 4-7:45 p.m.

November 8, 2019 - Marshall High School Cafeteria - 4-7:45 p.m.

Bring to the Exam:

  • a photo ID (driver's license, passport, picture school ID, etc.)
  • a pen or pencil
  • Credit Exam Registration Confirmation provided by the school counselor (printed or electronic)

For the exam...

  • The exam begins at 4 p.m. Check-in will begin at 3:30.
  • Students MUST bring a photo ID to the exam site. Examples of a photo ID are:
    • 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 WPT is timed and has a shorter testing time than the FCPS-designed exam.
  • Generally, students finish exams by 6 p.m. Exams must be completed by 8 pm.
  • Parents must wait in the designated waiting area.
  • Students may not bring any books, dictionaries, or other materials into the exam room.
  • Students may bring a powered-off phone into the exam room as long as the phone is out of sight during the test.
  • 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.

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.