Japanese Placement Assessment (JLPA)

Printer-friendly version

What is the placement assessment?

  • Our online Japanese Language Placement Assessment (JLPA) is an evaluation based upon the following textbooks: Japanese: The Spoken Language (E.Jorden/M. Noda) Japanese: The Written Language (E.Jorden/M. Noda)
  • The assessment usually takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.
  • Listening, reading, grammar and vocabulary skills will be assessed to determine your level of proficiency.

NOTE: This assessment is ONLY for incoming or current University of Maryland, College Park students in order to assess the appropriate level for them to begin study in our curriculum. It may NOT be used for credit by examination or other assessment purposes.

The JLPA at the University of Maryland is NOT the same as the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) given by the Japan Foundation. If you have taken the JLPT, no matter what your score, you still need to take our JLPA in order for us to determine your appropriate level in our curriculum.

The JLPA is governed by the UMD Code of Academic Integrity. Students are expected to perform at their highest level and should not solicit outside help with the assessment. Students’ placement will be assessed for accuracy after they have enrolled in the course. If it is determined that a student has been placed above or below their ability, the department reserves the right to reassign a student to the appropriate course.

Who needs to take the JLPA?

The JLPA is required for ALL students who wish to take Japanese language courses at the University of Maryland. Regardless of whether you have any previous Japanese study in high school or at another university, you must take the online assessment. Students with no previous background in Japanese should indicate that in the background questionnaire that appears at the beginning of the assessment. If students indicate that they are not heritage learners of Japanese (heritage learners are students coming from a background where Japanese was spoken in the home), and if they have no previous study or experience in the Japanese language, they will automatically be placed into Japanese 101 without having to take the remainder of the assessment. 

If a student has successfully completed a language course at the University of Maryland and then subsequently studies abroad in Japan, that student will be required to take the JLPA with an instructor upon returning from Japan in order to determine appropriate placement.

In all cases, students placed at the 202 level or higher will need to contact our placement coordinator for further evaluation. 

Students Returning from Study Abroad in Japan

If you are returning student from study abroad to Japan and plan to take Japanese language courses you must take the online JLPA prior to the beginning of the next semester that you plan to re-enroll at the university. After taking the JLPA, if you receive a score of placement of '999', follow the directions regarding '999' students below. Keep in mind that if you do receive a score of '999', you will also have to make an appointment for further evaluation of your level prior to the beginning of the semester.

Taking the JLPA

In order to take the online JLPA, you must go to the following website:www.fltest.umd.edu. Once you log in to the site you will be prompted with the test instructions. After the test you will be given a score and a course placement. Students who place above JAPN 202 will be given a ‘999’ classification for placement and be told to see an instructor. These students must meet with a Japanese instructor in August for further testing and evaluation in order to determine a higher Japanese course placement. In order to make this appointment see the next section below.

For ‘999’ Students Only: How do I make an appointment for further testing?

These students should contact our placement coordinator to set up an appointment.

If you cannot take the test on the arranged date, please contact the placement coordinator to schedule another date.

How long will my placement results be valid?

For students who are placed in JAPN 101-202, placement results will be valid for the current/immediately upcoming term and the subsequent semester. Once placement results are a year or more out of date, however, students must retake the JLPA in order to obtain an updated assessment of their ability. Thus, for example, if you take the JLPA in May or August in order to register for Japanese courses in the subsequent academic year, you must enroll during that academic year at the recommended level or retake the JLPA later for placement in the following summer or academic year.

For students who are placed in JAPN 301 or above, placement results may be valid for longer than a year; students should consult with their instructor on the first day of class to be sure that they have been placed appropriately.

If you have any questions about the validity period for your placement after taking the test, please contact the placement coordinator for clarification.

What if I want to take classes in the summer?

If you plan to take a Japanese language course in the summer, please be sure to take the online placement prior to May 1st so that your results will be processed in time for you to enroll if necessary in the first summer session, which begins in late May-early June. Note that you will need a Directory ID, which is assigned to you during the application process to the University, in order to register for the JLPA.

IMPORTANT: All students must take the online JLPA prior to the first day of class. Furthermore if you are on the waitlist, be sure to attend the first day of class. If you take the FLPA and receive a ‘999’ placement, you must contact the placement coordinator and at the latest, further evaluation should be undertaken by the end of the first week of the class.

If you have any questions, please contact the placement coordinator.