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Course Descriptions

Spanish 1, 2, and 3

Welcome to Spanish at Penn State. Spanish 1, 2, and 3 are courses for students who are native speakers of a language other than Spanish. Spanish 1 is a 4-credit online only course. There is no in-class component for this course. The Spanish 2 and 3 courses are divided into two components — in-class and online. Two hours of these 4-credit, one-semester courses are completed in class and the rest (instruction + homework) is fulfilled on-line.

The purpose of these courses is to develop and improve communication skills when listening, reading, speaking, and writing in Spanish. The courses follow a communicative information-based task approach, which springs from the idea that languages are best learned when real world information becomes the focus of students’ activities. Therefore, during the semester, you will exchange real-life information about yourself and your classmates.

Students who have previously completed course work equivalent to the level of Spanish 003 will not receive credit for Spanish 003 at Penn State. Also, individuals who have taken the AP exam and have received a score of 3 or above or who have taken the IB exam, and have received a score of 5 or higher on the Higher Level exam will receive the 12 credits required to fulfill the language proficiency requirement and will therefore not be able to take Spanish 3 for credit. There are no exceptions to this policy.


Spanish 10 and 20

The Spanish 10 and 20 courses are the two parts of an intensive program for students whose native language is something other than Spanish. These intensive courses meet five days a week and are worth 6 credits per semester. The courses can be taken as an alternative to the traditional series of basic language instruction (Spanish 1, 2, and 3) that continues over three semesters.

Spanish 10 is only offered during the Fall semester, while Spanish 20 is only offered during the Spring semester. The two courses — Spanish 10 and 20 — are designed to cover the same amount of material as the three-semester basic language program, but in two-thirds of the time. In Spanish 10, we will cover the preliminary chapter through chapter 7 of the Mosaicos textbook. Spanish 20 will cover the remaining chapters of the same text — chapters 8-15. The purpose of these courses is to develop and improve communication skills when listening, reading, speaking, and writing in Spanish, by means of:

  • Linguistic skills: grammar and vocabulary.
  • Sociocultural skills: appropriate use of Spanish based on situation and context.
  • Discourse skills: ability to use, understand and participate in different discourse tasks (e.g., comparison, description, narration) and situations (e.g., telephone, face-to-face, debate, interviews)
  • Strategic skills: (e.g., learning strategies)

This course is based on a communicative approach with focus on form, which combines content- and task-based materials in a student-centered environment. Activities follow the sequence of structured-input activities, structured-output activities, and open-ended communicative tasks.


Native speakers and students with life long contact with Spanish may not enroll in Spanish 1, 2, 3, 10 or 20. Those wishing to improve grammar/writing skills in Spanish should enroll in Spanish 100A or 397A (check with the Dept. of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese).

If you are interested in demonstrating and certifying proficiency at the Spanish 3 / 20 level, please contact the Spanish Department office (215 Ritenour Building, 814 863-5417) for information on the process and charges to do this.

Grading Criteria

Listed below you will find documents that describe how students will be evaluated while taking one of the Spanish Basic Language courses. Students are evaluated based on written and oral expression, as well as class participation. The documents are in PDF format. You will need Adobe Reader in order to view these files. If you do not have this program, you can download it for free by going to the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC Download Page.


Alhambra, Spain

Spanish 1

Spanish 2, 3 and Spanish 10, 20

Grade Distribution:

Spanish 1Percent
On-line Assignments 20%
Foro de discusión 4%
Zona Cultural 3%
Tertulia 8%
Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 20%
Exam 3 25%
Spanish 2 and 3Percent
Canvas Online Assignments 1%
MSL Online Assignments 11%
In-Class Participation 14%
First Version Escrituras 6%
Final Version Escrituras 3%
Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 20%
Exam 3 20%
Oral Exam 5%
Spanish 10 and 20Percent
Participation 15%
Online Homework 10%
First Version Escrituras 6%
Final Version Escrituras 4%
Exam 1 15%
Exam 2 15%
Exam 3 15%
Exam 4 15%
Oral Exam 5%

Grade Distribution:

Grading Scale

(Based upon department guidelines)

95.0-100% A
90.0-94.9% A-
87.9-89.9% B+
83.3-87.8% B
80.0-83.2% B-
75.0-79.9% C+
70.0-74.9% C
60.0-69.9% D
59.9%-0 F

Final Exam Information

Aconcagua Mountain, Argentina

Please note that there are no exams during Finals Week for Spanish 1, 2, 3, 10 or 20.

Spanish Diagnostic Exam

Aconcagua Mountain, ArgentinaIf you are looking to place out of lower levels of Spanish, you may wish to take the Spanish Diagnostic Exam. This exam will test your proficiency in the Spanish language and help the department determine the appropriate level for you to enroll.


When is the exam?

The Diagnostic Exam is available the first four business days of the Spring and Fall semesters. For more information on the exam, please call the Spanish department at 814-863-5417.

Dates for Spring 2017

January 9 - 12; 8AM - 6PM each day.
The last exam starts at 4PM, and the exam lasts 2 hours. 

Please note, results will be available within the following two business days from the day the exam was taken (i.e. results will not be released during the weekend or on a holiday).

How do I take the exam?

The Spanish Diagnostic Exam is given via Canvas - Penn State's Online Course Management System - and will be held in the Pollock Testing Center on the dates listed above. In order to access the exam, you will need to first pre-register by completing the pre-registration form. Starting the day before the first exam, you will need to sign up for an exam time with the Testing Center. They will then send an email to all students who pre-register the day before the first exam, and allow them to choose a date and time for their exam.

I'm pre-registered, but do not see the exam. Why?

The Spanish Diagnostic Exam is scheduled to appear at certain times during the semester (the first four business days of the Fall and Spring semester). It will only appear during those specific times and the folder will remain empty at all other times.

Criteria Oral

PDF document icon criteria_oral.pdf — PDF document, 14 kB (15123 bytes)

Criteria Participation

PDF document icon criteria_participation.pdf — PDF document, 24 kB (25354 bytes)

Evaluation Criteria for Oral Expression

PDF document icon criteria_oral.pdf — PDF document, 14 kB (15123 bytes)

Spanish 1 Syllabus - University Park

Syllabus for Spanish 1 at University Park

PDF document icon Span1 UP Syllabus SP17 Final 12-20.pdf — PDF document, 735 kB (752951 bytes)

Spanish 2 Syllabus - University Park

Spanish 2 Syllabus - University Park

PDF document icon Span2_Syllabus_Unversity_Park_Sp17.pdf — PDF document, 156 kB (160288 bytes)

Spanish 10 Syllabus - University Park

Syllabus for Spanish 10

PDF document icon Spanish 10 Syllabus.pdf — PDF document, 441 kB (451678 bytes)

Spanish 1 Syllabus - World Campus

Syllabus for Spanish 1 at the World Campus

PDF document icon SPAN1-Syllabus-WC-SU17.pdf — PDF document, 695 kB (712399 bytes)

Spanish 2 Syllabus - World Campus

Syllabus for Spanish 2 at the World Campus

PDF document icon SPAN2-Syllabus-WC-SU17.pdf — PDF document, 687 kB (704028 bytes)

Spanish 3 Syllabus - World Campus

Syllabus for Spanish 3 at the World Campus

PDF document icon SPAN3-Syllabus-WC-SU17.pdf — PDF document, 684 kB (700715 bytes)