Language Placement Testing Policies

World Languages

 Gunn World Language Department placement policy:

  1. Students who are enrolled in French 1B, Japanese 1B, and Spanish 1B should enroll in level 2.  No placement test is needed.  At the beginning of the year we occasionally move students up or down a level based on their proficiency.
  1. Students who have prior knowledge of French, German, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish need to take a placement test at Gunn so that we can see where they might fit into our program.  Prior knowledge includes immersion programs, after school programs, target language spoken at home, etc.
  1. The placement test is a proficiency-based test that involves speaking and writing.  It is not based on any specific curriculum but measures global knowledge and experience.  Once the test is graded, we determine if the student will fit into the current offerings at Gunn.  Sometimes students are very fluent in the target language and are far beyond anything they could learn in our classes.  We recommend that those students choose another language.
  1. Level 1 courses are designed for students who are truly novices in the target language and know less than 25 words.  We never allow native speakers into any class below level 3 because their presence is intimidating to the true beginners in the class.  They can work as aides but not take a lower level course.

Most students coming to Gunn do not need to take a placement exam in world language. 

The exam measures current oral and written proficiency in the language. This exam is not a final exam skip test based on a particular curriculum.  The test has been designed to measure a student's language proficiency and determine where he/she would fit best into our program.
8th grade students whose oral and written proficiency meets the standard for AP Language will be put on a waiting list for 10th grade since we do not allow 9th graders into AP Language.

Contact Liz Matchett, World Language Instructional Supervisor at with any questions.