World Language Competency Test FAQs

    Who should take the test?

    Who is eligible to take the test?

    Current high school students in LWSD. This includes Running Start students. 

    Does the student have to be a native speaker?

    In addition to being native speakers, World Language proficiency may be developed through extensive study, or time spent in another country. Students do not have to be native speakers of the language in order to test. 

    What languages are available?

    The test is available in any language with a written and spoken form.

    Can students earn credit if they can speak and understand the language, but can’t read or write in the language?

    In order to earn credit, students must demonstrate proficiency in all four domains: reading, writing, speaking and listening.

    How can students know if they are ready to take the test?

    We recommend using the following self-assessment to better understand your level of proficiency:

    What can you do in your language in each area?

    • When I LISTEN in my language:  
      1. I recognize a few memorized words.
      2. I understand basic phrases if they are spoken slowly.
      3. I understand the main idea of short, simple messages.
      4. I understand the main idea on familiar topics. I can understand the radio and TV shows.   
      5. I can understand speeches, conversations, and movies without subtitles.
    • When I READ in my language:
      1. I recognize a few memorized words or phrases.  
      2. I understand familiar words and simple sentences, like what I would see on a website.
      3. I can read short, simple everyday texts like menus or short emails.
      4. I understand texts in everyday school language.
      5. I can read and understand articles, poems, stories and books.
    • When I SPEAK in my language:
      1. I can talk about very familiar topics using single memorized words or phrases.
      2. I can talk with a person if they repeat things or speak slowly and help me with what I’m trying to say.
      3. I can talk about simple tasks and familiar topics.  I can hand short conversations.
      4. I can go unprepared into any conversation if it’s on a familiar topic.
      5. I can easily talk with native speakers about a variety of topics.
    • When I WRITE in my language:
      1. I can copy some familiar words, character or phrases.  
      2. I can write something short and simple like a postcard.  
      3. I can write short, simple messages like a thank you card.
      4. I can write simple texts on familiar topics, like personal letters describing my experiences.  
      5. I can write clearly and with detail about a variety of topics.

    Based on your responses, here’s how to figure out how you many credits you may be able to earn on the test:
    Credits are calculated using the lowest score of the 4 skills.  Choose the lowest of the scores you gave yourself to predict how you might score on the assessment.  This is not a guarantee, but it’s meant to give you an idea of what to expect.

    A = Novice Low (0 credits)
    B = Novice Mid (1 credit)  
    C = Novice High (2 credits)
    D = Intermediate low to mid (3 credits)
    E = Intermediate High and above (4 credits)

    Can students test in multiple languages?

    Students can earn credit through competency testing for multiple languages.  Students can only test in one language on each testing day.

    Can students still take the test if they have credit from a World Language course?

    If the student has earned credit in a World Language course in a different language than they are testing in, they can earn credit for both. However, if a student decides to test in a language for which they have credit from a class, they can only earn any additional credits beyond what they have already earned. For example, if a student has 2 credits of Spanish from a class, and they earn 4 credits through testing, they will have 4 credits total. Heritage language classes are an exception to this, as these classes are not at a defined level. 

    What is the format of the World Language Competency test?

    What test is taken for each language?

    STAMP Test

    • Languages: Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Hebrew, Hindi, Russian and more to come in 2018-19
    • The whole test is online
    • 3-4 hours on average
    • Four sections: reading (30 multiple choice questions), writing (3 prompts), listening (about 30 multiple choice questions), and speaking (3 prompts).  
    • All questions are in English


    • Languages: Somali, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Yup’ik and more to come in 2018-19
    • The whole test is online
    • 3 hours on average
    • Two sections: writing (4 prompts) and speaking (4 prompts)
    • All questions are in both English and the target language


    • Languages: Most languages not offered by STAMP or WorldSpeak
    • 1 hour paper-pencil writing test, with 5 writing prompts.
    • On a separate day, a conversational phone interview with an evaluator in the target language, lasting about 20-30 minutes
    • All questions are in the target language


    • Languages: any language not offered by any of the other tests
    • 3 hours on average
    • Paper-pencil written test
    • Online speaking and listening test
    • All questions are in English

    How is the test scored?

    Students will get a score for each domain: reading/writing and listening/speaking. The credits earned are determined by the lowest score, as that represents the most consistent skill level. The scores given represent a competency level, and this level determines the number of credits earned. 

    When and where can students take the test?

    How do students register?

    Students can register on the LWSD website. Registration for each test opens approximately six weeks before the testing date.

    What is the cost of the test?

    The test is free for any high school student in the district their first time taking it.

    Can students take the test again if they want to earn more credit?

    Yes. The cost of subsequent test attempts is the responsibility of the student. It is based on the cost of the test. The highest number of credits earned will replace the credits earned previously. 

    Why should students take the test?

    How many credits can a student earn?

    Students can earn between one and four high school credits by taking the World Language Competency test. 

    What is the Seal of Biliteracy?

    The Washington State Seal of Biliteracy recognizes public high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more world languages in addition to English. The first requirement for the Seal of Biliteracy is that the student is on track to meet ELA graduation requirements and pass the ELA state assessment. In addition to meeting those criteria, a student can earn the Seal of Biliteracy if they score high enough to earn 4 credits on the World Language Competency test.

    How many World Language credits are required for graduation?

    Two credits of a World Language are required for graduation. The two credits must come from consecutive levels of the same language (ex: French 1 and French 2) or from World Language Competency test scores high enough to earn 2 or more credits.

    Will this help students when they apply to college?

    Yes! Most 4-year colleges require at least two World Language credits. If a student earns the Seal of Biliteracy, this may give them an advantage when applying to colleges.

    Will colleges accept credits earned through World Language Competency testing?

    Every 4-year college in Washington State will accept competency test credits.  If a student is interested in colleges out of state, they should research the specific requirements of their school(s) of interest.  Most states have implemented the Seal of Biliteracy. You can find more information at

    How are the credits added to student transcripts?

    Between four and six weeks from the date of the test, the Assessment office will send scores and credits earned to the data processor at each school to be added to transcripts. Students do not need to do anything additional to request that their credits earned are added to their transcript.

    How do students find out their scores?

    Between four and six weeks from the date of the test, the Assessment office will send an email to students, using the email address provided at registration, letting them know how many credits they earned. Score reports will be viewable in Skyward under the Report Cards-Portfolio tab. Directions for access will be included in the email.

    If a student doesn’t earn credit, will that be posted on the transcript?

    No. If a student does not earn credit, nothing is reported to the data processor at their school

    Will test scores impact a student’s GPA?

    No. Competency credits are GPA-neutral, and appear with a grade of ‘P’. 

    If you have additional questions, please contact Suzanne Womble, Assessment Specialist, at