First-year students are admitted into the various levels of instruction based upon the results of the placement exam and oral interviews with the Placement Committee. Appeals are dealt with by the Committee, with input from the language instructors when appropriate. Since not all students will enter a class with identical abilities in the various skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing), flexibility in assigning students to the various levels is unavoidable and, to some extent, desirable. The ACTFL-devised categories of abilities (novice, intermediate, advanced) are useful in determining placement and outcomes.
Exit: Novice high
- Grammar, vocabulary: Can master basic grammar; can internalize principles and produce correct patterns.
- Speaking: Can be comfortable with using conjunctions, fillers, and aizuchi (signals indicating listening stance) to engage in active communication. Can build on old grammar, students should be able to construct increasingly long clauses.
- Reading: Can get used to reading longer texts. Can develop skimming and scanning technique.
- Writing: Can write Kana and approximately 125 kanji.
Entry: Novice high
Exit: Intermediate low/mid
- Grammar, vocabulary: Can build on familiar grammar patterns from First Year, students can construct increasingly longer and more complex sentences.
- Speaking: Can carry on increasingly challenging dialogues in response to contextual stimulus, not just instructor’s commands. Can be aware of differences in speech level (casual vs. polite forms); can recognize casual form and produce honorifics.
- Reading: Can reinforce reading skills listed in First-year.
- Writing: Can write approximately 300 new kanji for a total of approximately 425 kanji.
Entry: Intermediate low/mid
Exit: Intermediate mid/high
- Grammar, vocabulary: Can reinforce and solidify First and Second-Year Grammar.
- Speaking: Can differentiate between casual, formal and honorific forms. Can converse in paragraphs, not just sentences; can practice narration and description.
- Reading: Can develop thorough reading skill. Can comprehend not only the content but also analyze sentence structure.
- Writing: Can write approximately 250 new kanji for a total of approximately 675 kanji.
Entry: Intermediate high
- Speaking: Can reinforce mastery of speech levels (casual, formal, and honorific forms). Can practice speaking in paragraphs and can express opinions confidently, even on unfamiliar topics.
- Reading: Can comprehend and analyze more complex texts.
- Writing: Can write approximately 250 new kanji for a total of approximately 925 kanji.
- Other: Can shift from immediate topics to social issues and other various topics. Can supplement textbook with related, and more current speed-reading materials and video clips.
Advanced (Fifth-Year) Japanese
Exit: Advanced high
- Speaking: Can participate in discussion on linguistically unfamiliar situations. Can make a public speech in culturally appropriate manner.
- Reading: Can read and discuss the following types of Japanese texts: stories, essays, poetry, and newspaper articles.
- Writing: Can write approximately 300 new kanji.