What is the Avant Spanish Heritage Language (SHL) Test?

The Avant SHL Test is an online test designed to quickly and accurately place Spanish heritage students in grades 7 through University into Spanish heritage language courses. It highlights each test taker’s strengths and weaknesses in key academic language skills that are unique to Spanish heritage students. The Avant SHL Test measures vocabulary, grammar, verb use, spelling, speaking proficiency, and writing proficiency. The Avant SHL Test requires a proctor during testing.

Who uses the Avant SHL Test?

Educators who need to quickly, easily and accurately place students into the right language courses use The Avant SHL Test. It can also be used to establish SHL courses if you do not already offer them.

The University of Houston awards credit to students who score high enough on their Advanced Writing and Speaking responses.

What grade level is the Avant SHL Test appropriate for?

The Avant SHL Test is designed for learners in grades 7 through University.

How is the Avant SHL Test different from Avant PLACE in Spanish?

The Avant SHL Test and Spanish Avant PLACE test are designed for different test taker populations and assess different skills.

Avant SHL Test:

  • Designed for placing Spanish heritage students into heritage language courses
  • Skills measured: Vocabulary, Grammar, Verb Use, Spelling, Speaking proficiency, and Writing proficiency

Avant PLACE in Spanish:

  • Designed for placing students into Spanish world language courses
  • Skills measured: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Contextualized Grammar

Does my organization or school need to offer heritage language courses to use the Avant SHL test?

The purpose of the Avant SHL Test is to identify a student’s academic ability in the Spanish language, but it is not a requirement to have heritage language classes to use this product.

How long does it take to complete the Avant SHL Test?

The Avant SHL Test is not a timed test. On average, it takes the following amount of time per section:

  • First Section (Lexical): 10-15 minutes
  • Second Section (Dictation, Translation, Sentence Completion, Verb Conjugation): 40-50 minutes
  • Third Section (Writing & Speaking): 45-50 minutes

Can the Avant SHL Test be taken anywhere or does it need to be proctored?

Avant Assessment’s online language proficiency tests must be taken in a proctored environment with a proctor who is authorized by the organization sponsoring the test. 

See the Avant SHL Test Proctor Guide for more information.

What is the layout of the Avant SHL Test?

The Avant SHL test begins with a set of demographic questions followed by a Lexical (Vocabulary) section. After the Lexical section, the test taker will either exit the test, or with a high enough score, continue on to the Dictation, Translation, Sentence Completion, and Verb Conjugation sections.

At this point, the test taker will either exit the test or, with a high enough score, continue to the last two sections: Speaking and Writing. The Avant SHL Test design diagram is available here.

  1. Demographic questions
  2. Lexical (Vocabulary): 1st Early Exit Point
  3. Dictation, Translation, Sentence Completion, and Verb Conjugation: 2nd Early Exit Point
  4. Speaking and Writing

Where are the exit points of the Avant SHL Test?

The exit points of the test fall after the Lexical (Vocabulary) section and after the Verb Conjugation. Students must receive a 20% accuracy or more to move onto the next section. The  Avant SHL Test design diagram is available here.

What is the process for adding accents to words in the Writing section?

The writing section of the Avant SHL Test will display a clickable keypad with all Spanish specific accents.

Test takers will just need to click on the appropriate letter with the accent as they are typing.

How and when will I receive the Avant SHL Test results?

Lexical recognition, dictation, partial translation, sentence completion, verb conjugation scores are available when the test taker completes each section.

Writing and speaking scores are typically available from 3 to 5 business days after test completion.

How is the Avant SHL Test Online Results account accessed?

  1. Go to app.avantassessment.com/login
  2. Enter the SHL Test Teacher Test Code provided by Avant Assessment
  3. Enter the SHL Test Teacher Password provided by Avant Assessment
  4. Select Location Results By Student

What results reports are available?

Please see our Avant SHL Test Reporting Guide for a complete description and examples of the available reports. Results are provided in the form of suggested course placement levels and detailed individual demographic information.

What are the system requirements for the test?

Please see our Assessment Technology Guide for overall system requirements and browser capabilities.

What does the Avant SHL Test cost?

For pricing information or to make a purchase, please call our Account Management team at (888) 731-7887 within the United States, or +1 (541) 338-9090 from outside the United States, or email us at sales@avantassessment.com.

How is the Avant SHL test ordered?

For pricing information or to make a purchase, please contact an Avant Representative at sales@avantassessment.com or phone (888) 731-7887 within the United States, or +1 (541) 338-9090 from outside the United States.

Do you provide guides?

Avant has several resources that were designed to help prepare teachers, test administrators, and test takers for the testing experience that can be found in our User Guides.

How do I create custom placement guidelines?

Avant provides a general guide that outlines suggested course levels for students based upon their overall scores from the Avant SHL Test.  Avant realizes that each language program functions differently, and that the needs of each institution may require a more in-depth data analysis.

Consulting is available to help you establish custom placement guidelines specific to your program. Contact Avant to set up your custom placement guidelines.

Is the Avant SHL Test aligned with the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines?

The Avant SHL Test is designed to place a student into a language course and assess different elements of language skill.

It does not have a direct correlation to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. If the test taker makes it to the Speaking and Writing sections, their responses are scored with a proficiency-based rubric, but we do not report on the ACTFL levels with this assessment.

Do you provide support during testing?

Yes! Avant’s support specialists are available for immediate testing support for teachers and administrators and can be reached via email or phone. Students who seek help should contact their institution.

Email: support@avantassessment.com

Support Hours:
Mon-Fri 5:00am – 4:00pm
Pacific Time (UTC/GMT -8)

Support Phone:
Toll Free (US): (888) 713-7887
International: +1 (541) 607-4401

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