Saturday, June 4, 2011

Language testing at FSI

So my big project this month is to wrangle my way into FSI for a language test.

My grad program (IDS at GW if you're interested) requires 'fluency' in a foreign language to graduate.

I plan on testing in BCS, for which GW wants me to test at the 'intermediate high' level. (Easier languages require an Advanced level, harder ones get intermediate high.)

Unfortunately, GW doesn't have any testers for BCS, so my brilliant idea is to get tested at FSI, and kill two birds with one stone. I figure I have a good case because a) it's directly related to my work this summer and b) I'll have to get tested by FSI at some point anyway. The only problem of course is to find that one person who can make it happen bureaucratically.

Well, the other problem is that I haven't had any formal training in BCS since, well, undergrad, which was 5 years ago. I do have a year in the region though and have used tutors/language partners/self-study to try to keep up my fluency, but I'm not sure if that will be enough.

The other potential snag is that I think the scale GW uses to rate fluency is quite a bit easier than the scale FSI uses.

For example: I took GW's Spanish and French tests this past fall (it was an accident on their part - long story) and with only 1 year of Rosetta Stone French and nothing else, I was able to pass the French reading test. I get the feeling that FSI will hold me to a somewhat higher standard. Don't you?

So am I shooting myself in the foot here? Stay tuned to find out!

1 comment:

  1. I would suggest going to the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages/Language Testing International. The cost of the test is moderate. They give a telephonic test and a rating that corresponds to the Inter-Agency Roundtable (ILR) criteria. And you will get the test quickly. FSI will be difficult to use. Address of LTI is:
    445 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 1104
    White Plains, NY 10601
    Tel: (914) 963-7110x310
    Fax: (914) 963-7113

    Good luck.