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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What is “Celebrate Bilingualism,” and why is NIU doing this?

A:  Celebrate Bilingualism is one of several new NIU initiatives aimed at preparing students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected and global world.  Celebrate Bilingualism offers students an opportunity to test their fluency in languages other than English, and to earn free credits (up to 12 credit hours) by passing a standardized examination. 

Q:  Where can I take one of these tests?

A:  The STAMP test is regularly administered each semester in the Foreign Language Learning Center, Watson Hall 101.  Please register online.

Q: I received foreign language AP credits in high school.  Am I still eligible for this program?

If you come to NIU with foreign language AP credits (not more than 12), you may take our STAMP test and potentially earn additional credits (up to 12) plus receive a certificate of fluency and official notation on your academic transcripts. 

Q:  How fluent do I need to be to pass one of these tests?

A:  The STAMP test considers a person to be fluent if they achieve a score at or higher than the “Advanced Low” level.  In spite of its name, Advanced Low represents a very high level of fluency, sufficient to being able to conduct business in another language. including writing at the college level.  Furthermore, the instructions are in English, requiring a high-degree of fluency in English in order to pass the test.  

Q:  I can speak another language but I’m not sure how I would do with the writing part.  Is there a lot of that on the test?

A:  There are four aspects to language fluency:  speaking, reading, writing, and listening.  All four competencies must be in place in order to pass a STAMP test.  The writing section is equivalent to writing a short college-level essay.

Q:  I speak more than one foreign language, may I take the test in both languages?

A:  No, you may only receive up to 12 hours of credit, so you will need to decide which language you feel the most confident in being able to successfully pass the examination.

Q:  What does it cost to take this test?

A:  The test is free.  Students may only take the test once.

Q:  If I pass the test, are the credits awarded immediately?

A:  Credits are awarded at the end of a successfully completed semester.

Q:  How can I show potential employers that I passed the test and can be considered fluent in another language?

A:  When a student passes a STAMP test, it is noted on his/her academic transcripts.  He or she will also receive a certificate of fluency that can be included with a resume.

Q:  If I take the test but don’t pass, what are my options?

A:  Because the examination tests bilingualism, there is no method to study or prepare for the test. Therefore, if you do not successfully pass the test, you are encouraged to take foreign language classes that will help improve your language ability.