National Spanish Exam

Becky Bogan

One of the activities that I have enjoyed over the years is administering the National Spanish Exam to my students. It affords teachers the opportunity to see how their students at the same level measure up against other students in the state and nation. Last year, I was sorry to see that we did not have a state coordinator or contest, so this year I decided to volunteer!

Students get excited to see how they compare to others in their class as well as with others in South Carolina. Even though the format of the test is different than the AP or IB exams, the more practice they get with standardized tests, the better prepared they are for the next one.  It is also a valuable tool for students to self-assess their weaknesses and strengths.

What is the National Spanish Exam?

The National Spanish Examinations are online, standardized assessment tools for Grades 6 -12, given voluntarily by about 4000 teachers throughout the United States to measure performance (interpretive communication) and achievement of students who are studying Spanish as a second language.

The National Spanish Examinations are the most widely used tests of Spanish in the United States. In the spring of 2016, a total of 169,697 students participated in the online version of the exam.

What is the purpose of the National Spanish Examination?

The purpose of the National Spanish Examination is

  1. to recognize achievement in the study of the Spanish language
  2. to promote proficiency in interpretive communication in the Spanish language
  3. to assess the national standards as they pertain to learning Spanish
  4. to stimulate further interest in the teaching and learning of Spanish

In addition:

  • Many teachers state that they use the National Spanish Examinations to prepare students to take other standardized tests such as AP, IB, SAT II and college placement exams.
  • Many administrators state that they can use data from the National Spanish Examinations to create reports to show how their schools have improved over an academic year.

What is the mission of the National Spanish Examination?

The mission of the National Spanish Examination (NSE) is to recognize student achievement and to promote language proficiency in the study of the Spanish.

Who can participate? 

Any member of AATSP can register students currently enrolled in his/her class.  The exams are leveled from 01-6, depending on the number of years the student has studied Spanish.  Students are grouped into three categories to make the competition fair:  Classroom Experience, Outside Experience, and Bilingual.

Levels of competition…..explained

Students must be registered for the National Spanish Examination in the level which corresponds to the same Spanish course in which they are currently enrolled, allowing students with like-exposure to compete with each other.

There are seven (8) levels of National Spanish Examinations:

LEVEL Pre01

Entry level enrichment class where students have just begun their study of Spanish and where the class does not meet every day. (Grade 6)

LEVEL 01

Entry level for any program where the course content is equivalent to the first half of first year high school Spanish. (Grade 7)

LEVEL 1

  • Second year for JHS / MS students where the course content is equivalent to the second half of first year high school Spanish (Grade 8) or
  • Entry level for any program where the course content is equivalent to a full year of high school Spanish. (Grades 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12)

LEVEL 2

Second level of high school Spanish. (Grades 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12)

LEVEL 3

Third level of high school Spanish. (Grades 9, 10, 11 or 12)

LEVEL 4

Fourth level of high school Spanish. (Grades 10, 11 or 12)

LEVEL 5

Fifth level of high school Spanish. (Grades 11 or 12)

LEVEL 6

Sixth level of high school Spanish. (Grades 11 or 12)

 

NOTE:

AP Language / IB-SL: Students enrolled in a course labeled AP Language or IB-SL should register to take the current year’s NSE exam at one level higher than the course in which they were enrolled the previous year. [Example: A student who is enrolled in AP Language this year and took Spanish 4 last year would sit for the Level 5 exam this year.] Under no circumstance may an AP Language / IB-SL student take the NSE at lower than Level 4.

AP Literature / IB-HL: Students enrolled in a course labeled AP Literature or IB-HL must take the NSE at either Level 5 or 6. These students should register to take the current year’s NSE exam at one level higher than the course in which they were enrolled the previous year. Under no circumstance may an AP Literature / IB-HL student take the NSE at lower than Level 5.

Block Scheduling

Students who are not enrolled in a Spanish class during the Spring semester should register for the level of exam for the course in which they were enrolled during the previous Fall semester.

 

Students who are enrolled in a Spanish class during the Spring semester should be registered for the level of exam for the course in which they are enrolled during the NSE testing window (March 1 – April 10). However, instead of administering the examination 10 weeks prior to the close of the academic year, teachers should administer the examination 5 weeks prior to the close of the year, provided that testing is completed by April 10. This later administration date will allow students to have had more instruction.

When is the test?

Registration opens on November 1, 2016 and will close on January 31, 2017. The cost is $4.25 per student. ($3 National fee, $1.25 State fee)

The test can be administered anytime between March 1 and April 10.  All you need is computers with internet access. You will need to double check the tech requirements as listed on the NSE website.  Students can use their own headphones for the listening portions of the test.

For more information:

http://www.nationalspanishexam.org/index.php/about-us/what-is-nse

How do I register?

Go to https://www.nationalspanishexam.org/index.php/registration/step-1-register-online .

Once you are ready to register, you simply enter the student names along with their level and press SUBMIT.  Once you do that, an invoice will be generated and sent to you.  You print it out and send a copy of the invoice and payment (check) to:

National Spanish Examinations

PO Box 2058

Valparaiso, IN 46384

You may also pay by credit card.

What is the test like?  How do we prepare?

On https://www.nationalspanishexam.org, you can find previous tests, computer requirements, as well as online practice exercises.

Once the test window is closed, you will receive a spreadsheet from me containing your students’ results as well as a list of state (and ultimately national) winners.  State winners will receive a prize from the state chapter and you will have the ability to print award certificates for all who participate.

If you have any questions or if I can help you in any way, please email me at rbogan@greenville.k12.sc.us or call me at 864-355-3105. I ask and encourage you to participate in this rewarding activity, both for you and for your students.