Placement Policies

IMSA offers six foreign languages: French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Spanish. All languages require diligence and motivation for success, as well as routine practice and class participation. All of our languages are taught in an immersion environment with virtually no use of English. We also place high value on communicating in a culturally appropriate manner.
The information presented here relates directly to the course of study you will undertake while you are at IMSA, so please read it carefully and give it thorough consideration.

IMSA is committed to maintaining six strong, high–quality foreign language programs. IMSA does this in a variety of ways, including upholding high standards for testing into our upper level language classes (levels 2, 3, 4 & 5), and by managing or limiting enrollment so that class size is appropriate for our immersion–based approach to teaching and learning.

If you have studied a foreign language before, you may be able to continue studying that language at IMSA. Your preparedness for advanced study (levels 2, 3, 4 & 5) will be determined by a written proficiency exam, as well as an oral interview in a few cases. We will attempt to place you into your preferred language, if your performance on the proficiency exam merits it, but only if there is space available and if the class fits into your schedule. There are no guarantees. Space is limited in our level 2, 3, 4 & 5 classes, and placement into these classes will be awarded on a competitive basis to those who perform highest on the proficiency test. (This is particularly true of Spanish, which has the highest demand, making the competition even tougher, and placement into Spanish even harder.) This means that some otherwise qualified students may not get into their preferred language in which they tested. If your performance is not strong enough to secure a place in one of our upper levels, you will be placed in your second– or third–choice language. You will then take that new language to fulfill your two–year graduation requirement.

Note especially that no student will be placed in a Level 1 class of any language which he or she has previously studied: all level one classes are strictly for beginners.

The World Language program is designed solely for non–native learners. Only students who are clearly non–native learners will be allowed to enroll in any of our language programs. This is because we believe that it is vitally important that students learn to communicate in what is to them a truly foreign language.