In order to allow students with like-exposure to compete against one another, NSE has defined three categories of exam competition as follows:
View this instructional video to see how to choose the correct category on the National Spanish Examinations.
CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE (formerly Regular)
A student whose only contact with Spanish is in the classroom.
A student who has had specific experiences with Spanish beyond the classroom.
- The student is a heritage speaker who has had exposure to Spanish but limited practice in his/her home environment. The student may hear or speak some Spanish at home.
- The student has been enrolled in a Spanish immersion or dual language program for the prior 3 years or more.
- The student's principal language is another romance language (Catalan, French, Galician, Italian, Sicilian, Portuguese, Rumanian, etc.)
- The student has participated in an elementary Spanish language program during grades K-6 for three years or more. (This specification applies to LEVELS 01 and 1 only. Any student taking the Level 2 exam or above who participated in an elementary Spanish program may be placed in the CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE category.)
NOTE: For the purpose of the NSE Contest, an elementary Spanish language program is defined as having had 30 minutes or more of Spanish instruction per week for three years or more during Grades K-6.
A student who comes from a home where Spanish is the predominant language.
- The student has grown up in a home where Spanish is spoken.
- The student is bilingual to some degree in both Spanish and English.
The following language experiences may place a student in either the outside experience category or in the bilingual category. The teacher should advise the student as to which category is appropriate.
A student has lived (after age 6) in a Spanish speaking country for more than a year.
A student has studied in a Spanish speaking country for more than 4 months.
A student whose principal language at home is Spanish or Spanish/English.
A student whose principal language outside the home is Spanish or Spanish/English.
NOTE: The National Spanish Examinations are used to measure performance (interpretive communication) and achievement of English-speaking students who are studying Spanish as a second language. Native Spanish speakers (i.e. foreign exchange students and students who were born in and who have studied the Spanish language formally in their native Spanish speaking country and later moved to the United States) are ineligible to sit for the National Spanish Examinations.