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Foreign Language

World Language Requirement

Gordon College has a one-year, two-course sequence (101, 102) world language requirement. Students can validate native or learned proficiency or place themselves for continued learning through our World Language Placement assessment, or in the other ways described below. The World Language requirement must be met for graduation, students can begin at any time, and we recommend taking the placement assessment in the first year for good academic planning.

How do I validate or get placed in the right level for continued learning? Incoming students who have completed levels 1 and 2 of a given language in high school may enroll in 101 in that same language without taking a placement test, as well as students beginning study in a new language. Incoming students who have completed level 3 or higher in high school must take the placement test before enrolling in any course in that language. Alternatively, incoming students who have taken the AP Exam in a given language may also use those scores (if you meet the required threshold) to place out of the world language requirement. If you want to continue studying that particular language at Gordon, you will need to take the placement test to be placed in the appropriate level.

Which languages can I validate and/or continue learning? World Language Placement Exams for French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean and Italian are proctored online, and can be taken anytime. Students pursuing degrees in Biblical and Theological Studies can fulfill their Gordon World Language requirement by completing Biblical Greek or Biblical Hebrew offered in the BCM program. There is no placement exam for Greek or Hebrew.

What if I am a native speaker of another language not listed? Native or highly proficient speakers of other languages not covered in the Gordon placement assessment can validate their language requirement in alternative ways. Read the Other FAQ section below.

How do I enroll in the placement test?  Complete the World Language Survey to determine if you need to take the placement test. If you are a new student at Gordon, you can find the World Language Survey on GC101. Current students can access the World Language Survey on my.gordon under the Academics tab, quick links. Once you complete the survey, if it is determined that you need to take the placement test, you will automatically be enrolled in the placement test and you will see it on your Canvas dashboard in a few hours.  

When should I take the placement test? It is strongly recommended that you take the placement test as early as possible during your studies at Gordon—ideally, prior to enrolling in your first semester. If you postpone the test, you risk losing the valuable knowledge you gained during your high school language studies. Completing your core language requirement early in your college career also gives you the opportunity to consider further language study through one of our existing minors (combined languages, French, or Spanish). Bilingual proficiency is a desirable workplace skill in an increasingly globalized context.

What if I fail to take the required placement test and enroll in a 101 course in a language I studied extensively in high school?

If you have completed level 3 or higher in a given language and enroll in an introductory language course without taking the placement test, you will not be permitted to continue in the course until you have taken the test. Alternatively, you may be required to withdraw from the class. If the placement test indicates that you should enroll in the second semester of introductory language study (102) but you would prefer to review the basics before taking 102 for a grade, you may wish to consider auditing a section of 101 first. You may discuss this option with your academic advisor and with the instructor of the language class you would like to audit.

I took the AP exam in high school. Does that count?
If you scored a 4 or 5, you have met the Core language requirement. See AP schedule for more information.

What languages does the College offer?
Our curriculum provides for Core level instruction in French, Spanish, Biblical Greek, Mandarin Chinese, Biblical Hebrew*, Biblical Greek* and Latin on a regular basis. Language classes beyond the first year are available in all but Biblical Hebrew*, some based on demand.

*beginning in even-numbered years.

What do I do if I want to attempt to validate the requirement with another language?
Students who know or have studied a language not otherwise tested at Gordon may opt to take the BYU- FLATS exam in that language in order to meet (validate) their CORE language requirement.

Students who have submitted a TOEFL or IELTS to the College for admissions do not need to take one of these exams. The College will offer a session each semester for students to take this exam on campus and will announce it through student news. See this page for more information.

I am a native speaker of a language other than English. Do I have to meet the Core language requirement?
Yes, we must document that you have met the core requirement in an objective way. Here are some ways of documenting and meeting the requirement:

  • An official high school transcript is on record, and it is evident from the record that you spent most of your academic time studying in a language other than English for at least one of those high school years. This means that you took courses like mathematics, biology, or history in the other language.
  • You have earned a score of 5-7 in Language A1, A2, or B, the language being other than English, and taken at the Higher Level for the International Baccalaureate. You have an official transcript on record.
  • You have original TOEFL scores or IELTF score on record.
  • You may study a full year of any language at a pre-approved college
  • If your situation is not covered in any provision above, there is also online placement testing in many other languages through Brigham-Young.  These tests are available once/semester and will be coordinated by the English, Languages, and Linguistics Dept.

I have a learning disability. Do I have to take a world language?
You should contact the Office of Academic Support. Recent documentation regarding your learning disability must be on file there, and it will determine what kinds of accommodations are appropriate. The answer to this question has to be addressed individually.

Can I take American Sign Language for my core requirement?
American Sign Language does not meet the Core language requirement. However, you may take an ASL course elsewhere for credit and transfer it as an elective toward your total graduation hours. The College does not currently offer ASL, but there is an active Deaf Ministry on campus.

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