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). You will also receive a certificate of fluency and official notation on your academic transcripts.
STAMP (Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency) Test
Are you a bilingual undergraduate student? If so, we encourage you to take the Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) Test. You can earn recognition for your language skills with academic credit and a career-enhancing certification.
When you take the STAMP Test, you can:
- Earn up to 12 credit hours by demonstrating fluency in a language other than English
- Receive a special certificate and notation on your transcripts
- Free up your schedule to take other electives or earn a minor with a few additional language courses
Please note: The STAMP Test is not the same as NIU's foreign language placement exam.
- You must be a current undergraduate NIU student (graduate students are not eligible).
- You must be fluent in the selected foreign language.
Details and Registration
The STAMP Test is rigorous. It assesses all four aspects of language proficiency: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The writing section is equivalent to writing a short college-level essay. We recommend that you take a sample test before registering.
Please note the following:
- The test is administered at NIU Testing Services.
- The cost is $60.
- It typically takes one to two hours to complete.
- The instructions are in English.
Resources for Successful STAMP Testing
- Avant STAMP Test Taker Guide - Know what to expect and understand how to pace yourself while testing.
- Avant STAMP Benchmarks and Rubrics Guide - Determine the language needed to produce at a particular level. See a list of topics that you can expect to encounter.
- Avant STAMP 4S Sample Test - Take the sample test to get an idea of the look and feel of the exam prior to testing.
- Avant STAMP Power Up Guide - Determine what is needed for writing and speaking areas.
Within about two weeks of taking the test, you'll receive your results in an email from the Department of World Languages and Cultures.
If you pass the test, you'll receive a certificate of bilingualism and up to 12 credit hours, which are awarded at the end of a successfully completed semester.
In the fall 2014 semester, approximately 50 students took the test as part of a pilot program. About half of them scored at a level sufficient to qualify for 12 credit hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 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.
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.
You may only receive up to 12 credit hours in one foreign language.
When you pass a STAMP Test, it is noted on your academic transcripts. You will also receive a certificate of fluency that can be included with a resume.
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.