Unitary Placement Testing for Spanish: Can a Single Instrument Adequately Serve Native Speakers and Non-Natives Alike?


  • Gino Parisi Ph.D.,

    1. Georgetown University
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      Gino Parisi(Ph.D., Georgetown University) it Assistant Professor of Spanish at Georgetown University; Washington, DC

  • Richard V. Teschner Ph.D.

    1. University of Texas, El Paso
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      Richard V. Teschner(Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison) it Associate Professor of Spanish/Modern Languages at the University of Texas, El Paso; El Paso, TX


ABSTRACT The article responds affirmatively to the question its title poses. A single testing instrument can indeed adequately place and evaluate native speakers of Spanish and non-native learners alike, provided that it incorporates various special features found in the two tests analyzed here—the Parisi Spanish Proficiency Test (PSPT), developed at Georgetown University, and the Examen de colocación en español (EdCE), produced at the University of Texas, El Paso. Coefficients of correlation between the two were determined through multiple administrations of both to divergent student populations at the two cited schools. The tests themselves along with the statistics derived from them are discussed in detail. Also arrived at is a refinement of what is understood to constitute native-speaker proficiency in Spanish.