University of Wisconsin–Madison

German Placement Testing

Placement

Most students will have taken the placement test before they arrived on campus and registered for classes. However, if you did not, you will find on-campus testing opportunities and information about the test on: http://testing.wisc.edu/placementtesting.html#

You should have spoken with your advisor at orientation about what your placement test score means, i.e., which course it places you in. However, if you did not or you cannot remember, here is where you can find a score-to-course conversion chart: http://languageinstitute.wisc.edu/content/uw_students/placement_language_courses.htm

If you are in 101, you should have been placed into this course for one of two reasons: (1) you have never had German before; OR (2) you took the University of Wisconsin system placement test (after having taken German in high school or at another post-secondary institution) and the placement score suggested you take this class.

If you are in 102, 203, 204, 249, 258, or 262, you should have been placed into this course for one of two reasons: (1) you have taken the previous course in the language sequence (Ger 101, 102, 203, or 204) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; OR (2) you have taken the University of Wisconsin system placement test (after having taken German in high school or at another post-secondary institution) and the placement score suggested you take this class.

If you have your test results but feel uncomfortable with your placement, please do one or more of the following:

  1. Contact the course supervisor for advice. Contact info here.
  2. Consider that the placement test itself has been subjected to rigorous statistical validation testing – and we know that students who follow the placement test earn higher grades and are happier with their courses (even students who go LOWER than what the placement test recommends tend to get lower grades than their peers, perhaps because after initially feeling ahead, they do not study as much and end up falling behind).
  3. Visit (sit in on) a section of a course you are considering for one class meeting as early as possible in the semester.
  4. Go on-line and/or to the bookstore and examine the course materials.

Please also know that testing results that are older than one semester may very well be outdated.  Language knowledge can fade very quickly from disuse and scores that placed you into, for example, Ger 204 one semester may not correspond with the same placement a semester later.

Our ultimate goal is for you to be in a course in which you can achieve your objectives.  Some people prefer a challenge, others like it better when they feel entirely comfortable with the material.

We discourage but do not exclude from German 101 so-called ‘false beginners’, i.e., learners who have had German before.  Some learners have good reasons to start from the beginning altogether (Ger 101) or from the beginning of a ‘year’ (e.g., Ger 203 before Ger 204). They include the desire for a ‘review’ or the wish to use the full scope of course materials (101 and 102 share a textbook as do 203 and 204).  However, if you choose to start with a lower course, please keep in mind that what you may think of as a review may not, in fact, be that.  Different language programs teach different structures in somewhat different sequences and the vocabulary will vary by materials. In short, make good use of your time.  Many a student has started ahead only to fall behind and earn a lower grade than true beginners because some students do not realize when a ‘review’ no longer is just a review but actually new material.

If you are aiming to earn retro-credits, keep in mind that a desire to earn as many ‘retros’ as possible needs to be counterbalanced with the need to earn at least a grade of B in the course. That is, if you fail to achieve this benchmark, you will not earn any ‘retros’ at all.

Also, be aware that considering the very diverse population we serve, there will not be ONE PERFECT course for you. But there can be a BEST POSSIBLE.  Pick the one for you, being aware of the consequences. If you pick a course in which you feel very comfortable, please make sure you do not get bored and keep working to the best of your abilities.  You may need to create your own challenges. If you pick a course that is a challenge for you, accept that you might need to put in extra effort outside of class.