Certification FAQs

As a certification major, am I required to take a second foreign language up to the 202 or equivalent level?

No. For students in the elective certification programs, the 36 credits in professional education courses will substitute for this requirement.

We urge you to take a second language up to or beyond the 202 level for a variety of reasons that include: increased opportunities of employment in today's competitive global job market, the ability to complete non K-12 certification requirements for the B.A. in your language area, enhanced preparation for internships and travel/study abroad, professional and personal success, and the development of critical thinking on the relationship between language and culture, amongst others.

What tests do I need to take and when do I need to take them?

The PA Department of Education (PDE) requires both Basic Skills tests and Subject Area tests. Read more information regarding these tests.

Additionally, all new admits to the program are required to take the ACTFL OPI and WPT and pass with a score of Intermediate High, as mandated by the PA Department of Education. These tests are administered by the Department of Languages and Cultures. For further information, please contact Dr. Keith Corbitt (Supervisor of Teacher Education for the Department of Languages and Cultures).

When should I take the ACTFL exams (OPI and WPT)? Where do I register and pay? What scores do I need?

Before enrolling in EDS 411/412, certification candidates work with designated faculty members to request and take second language proficiency tests offered through ACTFL/LTI. The OPI is administered by a certified rater via telephone; the WPT is administered online.

The exams are paid for by the Department of Languages and Cultures (DLC).

In accordance with the PA Department of Education, Intermediate High is required for certification. There is no prerequisite score for student teaching (EDS 411/412).

Although one needs only Intermediate High for certification, the Department of Languages and Cultures supports ACTFL's mandate that all candidates speak and write at a minimum of Advance Low. Consequently, the DLC will create individualized remedial programs for those candidates who do not reach AL during LAN 401/503.

Where can I obtain the results of my ACTFL tests?

Dr. Keith Corbitt, the supervisor of teacher education, can access your scores.

Dr. Cristóbal Cardemil-Krause, the assessment coordinator, can access your scores.

Your advisor and/or language section coordinator.

For how long are test scores valid?

Basic Skills and Subject Area test scores are good indefinitely.

ACTFL OPI and WPT test scores are good for 10 years.

Is there a limit on the number of times I can take ACTFL tests per semester or each year?

ACTFL only allows one to take the OPI once every 30 days. There are no time restraints associated with the WPT.

Are there practice sessions for the Basic Skills tests, Subject Area tests and the OPI/WPT tests?

Basic Skills and Subject Area tests, preparation material can be found here. Additionally, the Department of Languages and Cultures has review books and study guides available for the Subject Area tests. See Main Hall 109.

Classes such as SPA 444, FRE 305, FRE 315, FRE 422, GER 315 and RUS 407-408 will help prepare you for the OPI and WPT in your respective language. Please see your advisor regarding course selection and when ACTFL exams are administered as part of a course requirement. The Department also recommends that candidates participate in a study abroad program prior to student teaching. For more information regarding study abroad, see your advisor.

If I graduate without K-12 certification, could I later take the Praxis II and be certified if I pass the exam? Does the same apply to the ACTFL exams?

In order to receive certification, you must meet all the program requirements, including EDS 411/412 and score an Intermediate High on both ACTFL exams (WPT and OPI).

If I have already graduated with certification in a non-foreign language discipline and I want to be certified to teach a foreign language, what is the process and timetable to do that?

If you are already a licensed teacher, you need only past the Praxis II World Language Exam. For more information, contact the Professional Testing Center (PTC).

The timetable varies. Please contact Dr. Keith Corbitt with your questions.

I have a FATE Delay Permit for formal admission and want to enroll in EDS 306 (Field Experience), but there are no more seats available. What do I do?

You should contact Deborah Kaba in the College of Education. Please note, as of Summer 2015, FATE Delays are obsolete and will no longer be granted under any circumstance. See Question #11 below.

When do I apply for FATE? Can I get a FATE Delay Permit?

All FATE applications must now be filed by undergraduate students once they have earned between 48 and 60 credits. Because PDE has expanded the list of courses requiring FATE to include all upper-division professional education courses, there will be a much narrower window for candidates to apply for and to attain FATE.

Students are no longer allowed to take post-FATE courses with the FATE Delay Permit. FATE Delay Permits are now obsolete (since summer 2015).

According to the CO: "There are no exceptions and no grandparent clause for these new guidelines."

Can I take both EDS 306 and LAN 401/503 in the same semester? Also, what passing grade do I need in LAN 401/503?

EDS 306 must be taken before you are eligible to enroll in LAN 401. It is a prerequisite for LAN 401. The minimum passing grade that you must achieve in EDS 306 and LAN 401 is a C.

You must have all clearances in place to take both courses; no exceptions.

I understand I need Clearances for classes (e.g. EDS 306, LAN 401, EDS 411/412) with a student teaching and or early field experience component. What is that process and will there be a problem if I have a conviction on my record?

Questions regarding Clearances should be directed to the COE. In the event you have arrests or convictions on any clearance document, you are required to make an appointment with the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Accreditation in the College of Education to discuss university policy concerning continuation in teacher education and take steps to be cleared for field experiences. You should not report to any field experience site without clearance.

What is the lowest accepted grade in a language course?

You are required to obtain a minimum grade of C in each language course for the major. There are no exceptions.

If I fail EDS 411 or 412, can I repeat one or the other?

Yes. You must obtain permission to do so from the College of Education. You should contact the Office of Clinical Experiences: Wayne Hall - Room 107.

I have transfer credits for professional education courses from another school. Who evaluates them?

Dr. John Elmore or his designee for undergraduate students (Fall 2017: Consult also with Dr. David Backer: dbacker@wcupa.edu; 610-436-2326; Wayne Hall 930. His office hours are: Monday (2-4), Tuesday (3:00-3:50) and Thursday (12:00-1:00).

Why do I need two advisors: one in the Department of Languages and Cultures and one in the College of Education?

You are assigned an academic advisor in the Department of Languages and Cultures, and a professional advisor in the College of Education's Department of Professional and Secondary Education, in order to provide you quality advising and guidance in both disciplines (education and foreign language).

The Supervisor of Teacher Education for the Department of Languages and Cultures is Dr. Keith Corbitt. Feel free to contact Dr. Corbitt with any questions you may have.

My advising sheet lists the professional education courses I must take prior to FATE. Do those courses have to be taken in the order listed?

You must take all the required courses, but not necessarily in the order listed since some courses have prerequisites that you must complete. For the requirements for FATE, see your advising sheet and the COE website.

If I am certified to teach K-12 in PA, am I qualified / eligible to teach in Maryland, New Jersey or Delaware? Does my license follow me from state to state?

Each state has its own requirements for certification. Please contact the Department of Education for the appropriate state to learn about their own requirements.

I am considering continuing in the MA TESOL program. Does that program include certification?

While it does not include certification, you may apply for the ESP Program Specialist Certificate program if you have a prior and valid Pennsylvania Instructional I or II Certification.

For more regarding the MA TESOL program, please contact Dr. Esther (Chui Kian) Smidt (Director of MA TESOL).

WCU TESOL Brochure