About NEWL™



Even though one-in-three jobs in the U.S. are tied to international trade, less than 7 percent of Americans are studying a foreign language in K-12 and college classrooms (source: MLA survey on foreign language enrollments, 2013). Despite this, the demographics across the country are changing. According to the most recent U.S. Census data, 22 percent of U.S. households speak a language other than English at home. Young heritage speakers of these languages often pursue formal language study in K-12, yet they lack the opportunity to demonstrate and gain recognition for their language skills. The same is true for traditional learners of these languages. Until now, language assessment exams that provide heritage speakers and traditional language learners opportunities to earn college placement and/or credit have not been available.

The National Examinations in World Languages (NEWL) is an online proficiency-based language assessment available in several critical languages. The exam is designed to provide a set of measures of functional proficiency in the target language for use as a predictive assessment for continued language study beyond high school and as a placement tool by American colleges and universities for entering freshmen. NEWL is intended for high school students—both traditional and heritage learners—seeking college credit and/or placement.


Endorsed by the College Board, NEWL is intended to provide students an opportunity to demonstrate their language skills, independent of how they acquired it, and to earn credit and/or placement into a college level language program. The exam targets students’ language proficiency in the Novice High to Intermediate High levels across four skills: Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension, Writing, and Speaking.

NEWL Languages

• Arabic
• Chinese*
• Korean
• Portuguese (Brazilian)
• Prototype AP® Russian
* The College Board provides the AP® Chinese Language and Culture Exam. If a school offers the AP®
Chinese Exam, enrolled students should take the AP® Chinese Exam. They are encouraged, however, to
take both exams.

Important Information