Foreign Languages

Retroactive Credit

Did you study French, German or Spanish in high school? Are you familiar with one of these languages from time spent in another country or other life experiences? Are you bilingual in one of these languages? You may be eligible for free retroactive credit hours, or retrocredit!

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, you need to take a free placement test through the Department of Foreign Languages to see if you might be eligible for retrocredit. We use the WebCAPE placement test, which was originally developed at Brigham Young University and is used by many colleges and universities across the country. The best news? It’s FREE!

The WebCAPE test is taken online. It is a multiple-choice test and usually requires a half-hour or less to complete. There is no fee, and the results do not go on your permanent record. Our faculty uses the test as a starting point to help determine the level at which you need to begin your language studies at Tennessee Tech. Here’s how it works: E-mail the DFL at and request to take the French, German or Spanish placement test. We will send you a link to the test via email. Once you complete the test, we are notified and will get in touch with you about your placement.

Here’s where retrocredit comes in. If you place in a foreign language class higher than 1010, once you complete that higher course at Tennessee Tech with a grade of ‘C’ or better, you can request retrocredit for the lower-level courses you skipped. Example: Let’s say you took two or three years of Spanish in high school. You take the WebCAPE placement test and place into Tennessee Tech’s SPAN 2020 class. We will give you permission to enroll in SPAN 2020 as your first FL course here. Once you complete SPAN 2020 with a grade of ‘A’ or ‘B’ or ‘C’, we will award you retrocredit for SPAN 1010, 1020 and 2010! That’s 9 credit hours of FL for FREE! (By the way, the maximum retrocredit you can get is 9 credit hours.)

Many students do find the test challenging, but since it’s free and doesn’t go on your record, what do you have to lose? Send your name, T Number (if you’re already a Tech student), email address and the language you’ve studied to We’ll send you the placement test link, and you’re on your way to possibly earning free foreign language credit!

There are a couple of additional things you need to know:

You can only receive retrocredit through Tennessee Tech after completing a higher-level course at Tennessee Tech, not at another school;
If you already have FL credit from another college or university and have transferred that credit to Tech, you won’t need retrocredit. However, you may want to take the placement test just to make sure you’re ready for the next level here at Tech.

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