The National Spanish Examination is an online, standard assessment tool for students in grades six through twelve, given voluntarily by over 3800 teachers throughout the United States “to measure proficiency and achievement of students who are studying Spanish as a second language,” explains the NSE’s mission statement.
From 1957 until 2005, the National Spanish Examinations were administered in a paper and pencil format; however, since 2006, the NSE has been administered in an online format through the Quia Corporation and is the first national world language exam administered online. Every spring, a total of around 150,000 students participate in the online version of this exam, making it the most widely used Spanish language test in the United States.
For more information, visit: http://www.nationalspanishexam.org/index.php/about-us/what-is-the-nse
Of these 150,000 students, Jesuit had award winning participants of its own: Eric Donica’13 and Joe Farmer’13. Both Donica and Farmer placed in the silver medal category, meaning that both of them finished in between the 85th and 94th percentile of all the students taking the test.
Farmer said, “I think it’s a great honor to be recognized for this,” adding modestly, “but I still have a long way to go before I become fluent in the language, and I need much more practice.” Greg Ines received an honorable mention award as well but was unavailable for comment.
Maybe most astonishing of all is Donica’s Cinderella-like story. Donica was able to rise to this new found success—success that most Spanish students can only dream of—despite little to no Spanish education in grade school. “I never took a real Spanish course until my freshman year at Jesuit,” said Donica, adding, “Mr. [Seth] Waits and Mr. [Greg] Nielson, who were my sophomore and junior year teachers, respectively, have definitely had the biggest influence on my Spanish-speaking ability. Without them, there is no way I could have won this award.”
Joe Farmer would also like to recognize all the Spanish teachers he has had throughout his time at Jesuit, especially Mr. Nielson who, Famer said, “is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, in any subject.”
A warm congratulation is due to these two young men for their outstanding mastery of the Spanish language. They decided to go above and beyond the norm, practicing Spanish outside of school and grasping as much knowledge as possible, their representation of Jesuit shining bright on all students.
If anybody is interested in taking the National Spanish Exam next year, it is open to all students of all grade levels. There is a five dollar registration fee, and you cannot register on your own; a teacher has to do it for you. The exam you take depends on the level of Spanish that you are currently taking that year. You should see your teacher for more information.