Universal Latin Exam (ULE)
How to Order
2023-2024 School Year
Important Dates & Notes
Registration Opens…September 15th
Customization Begins…January 1st
Registration Closes…February 28th
Customization Ends…March 1st
Payment Deadline…March 11th
Exam Period…March 18th-29th
Postmark Exam Return…March 29th
Results Returned…May 9th
The Process at a Glance
1. The administrator purchases exams for participating classes or groups.
2. A head Latin teacher customizes the content for each exam, so students are only tested on material they have studied.
3. Teachers download custom study guides which include all the concepts and vocabulary for their exams.
4. Schools receive exam PDFs 7 days before test day and administer paper exams within a 2-week window in the spring.
5. School assembles the tests by class, scans them to PDF, and uploads them to our office. Paper tests are sent in the mail to ensure we have the physical copies in case something goes wrong electronically.
6. Schools receive awards in time for end-of-the-year assemblies as well as results to help them understand their students’ performance.
What is the ULE?
The Universal Latin Exam is a new, versatile standardized test for schools who know the importance of tracking their students’ progress, while ensuring that their Latin program is comparable with other schools.
Unlike other tests, the Universal Latin Exam does not bias one curriculum or methodology over another. It tests students’ knowledge of the mechanics of the language itself — how accurately students understand short sentences written in Latin.
This is usually difficult because students learn grammatical concepts in varying orders, but our test is customized for each classroom. Students only see questions on concepts they have learned. This means students and schools can be accurately compared based on how much and how well students know Latin.
Designed and written by the ACCS’ Institute for Classical Languages, our approach ensures customized, Christian-friendly content for all classes.
Who should take the ULE? Anyone in the process of learning Latin! From 3rd (or earlier) through high school (or later!)
Why? To compare and evaluate
When? To be administered Spring 2024
How much? $35 plus $4.50 per exam
Have Questions? Contact [email protected]
The ULE uses very simple questions for which students must rely completely on their understanding of grammatical forms and their meaning. For example, common sense and word order alone are not sufficient to answer a question like the following. Only students with an understanding of the accusative and dative cases will be able to determine the correct answer.
1.) Aquam lūtrae dat.
A) He gives the otter to the water. B) He gives water to the otter. C) He gives the otters to the water. D) The otter gives water.
Some questions require students to choose the Latin word that correctly communicates a specific meaning. These questions require a very precise understanding of Latin mechanics. In the following example, in order to answer the question, students must understand how both adjective matching and declensions work.
2.) The owner gives the dog a nasty shoe.
A) calceum turpium B) calceum turpem C) calceum turpis D) calceum turpī
More advanced students will encounter questions for which an understanding of Latin syntax is necessary. To answer the following question, the student must understand that C and D are not permitted by Latin syntax, and that B is permitted but would be absurd.
3.) Pastor ____ arborēs videt.
A) ambulāns B) ambulāre C) ambulat D) ambulā
The number of questions on a test correlates to the number of concepts being tested. The typical test contains between 5 and 12 questions for younger students, and between 12 and 40 questions for older students. This small number of questions may seem counterintuitive and unusual. However, because of the very specific nature of the ULE, which is to test knowledge of the mechanics of the language itself by how accurately short sentences written in Latin are understood, a few well constructed questions reveal much. Notwithstanding the abbreviated length of the exam, our internal data indicates a good correlation between ULE score and true Latin grammar proficiency.
How it works
1. Schools purchase the correct number of tests online. The head Latin teacher receives a link to customize the tests. He or she will need to have class rosters with the full name of each participating student, and will need to know how far students will have gotten by the test date. Using our web app, the teacher selects curricula, books, and chapters, then has the option to click or unclick each grammar concept box to account for skipped chapters or added lessons. If we don’t have your curriculum in our database yet, or you use your own, you will be able to self-select all your concepts.
2. Our program removes questions that students don’t know.
3. The teacher receives an email with a review sheet attached. This email will remind them what concepts they should review and what vocabulary students need to know.
4. A PDF of each student’s test will be sent to a school administrator who prints them and delivers them to the classroom on the day of the test. The exam should generally be administered within the length of a normal class period for the class. Younger students will naturally have far fewer questions to answer, so they may not even need all of this time. Older students may need an entire class period to complete their exams. Schools are permitted to extend a class period to 1 hour for older students, however, under no circumstances may a student have more than 1 hour to complete the exam.
5. Once students have taken the test, the teacher collects them, and the Test Administrator scans the tests by class to PDF, and uploads them to our office. Paper tests are sent in the mail, clearly separated by class, to ensure we have the physical copies in case something goes wrong electronically. Tests are mailed to:
Universal Latin Exam
Institute for Classical Languages
P.O. Box 9741
Moscow, ID 83843
6. Results will be sent out shortly thereafter!
Note: If your school uses Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, Latin Alive, Latin for Children, Wheelock’s, or Picta Dicta Latin Primer, the customization process will be automatic. If not, you will just need to take a little extra time to select concepts for yourself. We’re currently working on entering more curricula.
If each test is different, how do you compare yourself with other schools?
In addition to being able to see how each student compares to others in his class, this test also compares schools and students across the country.
How? It’s simple! There are 40 possible test questions. This means the highest level students may be given all forty, but students won’t see questions they don’t know yet so younger students aren’t overwhelmed. Schools across the country can compare 5th graders to 5th graders, year 3 students to year 3 students, or simply see a metric of approximately how much of the language they know.
Awards will be given for the top scores nationally by grade and within each class. National top honors will be granted to top scores over all.
More Detail on Scoring Methodology
As a national standardized test, we can only be useful and fair if we have an objective measure that compares apples to apples and cannot be manipulated by individual students or teachers.
There is a very strong trend in our data indicating that, developmentally, older students pick up Latin more quickly than younger ones. There are exceptions (just like one would see in a math program), but it is a strong trend.
Thus, in order to prevent high schoolers competing against middle schoolers and elementary students we decided that comparing students in a common grade-level was a much better apples-to-apples comparison than calculating when students started Latin.
In the NLE, teachers choose what test they want their class to take and thus control how well they will do as a class. If not abused, this might be fine as a tool for praising individual students, but it isn’t a helpful tool for mapping how much progress students are making over time and where they are compared to national averages.
Our approach is similar to what you would see in other competitive programs, both academic and athletic: students compete against other students of like age. We believe that this strategy is the only way of ensuring a meaningful measure.
Given the necessities of an objective national standard, students who started Latin later in their school career do merit honor at a school’s award assembly. We recommend that such students are recognized based on their ULE total scores and class group. It is explained that the ULE grants national honors (medals) in comparison to students in the same grade. Nobody expects a 1st-year soccer player to receive national honors; but they absolutely should receive in-school honors for outstanding performance in their first year. In this way, honor may be given where it is due based on individual performance, but also contextualized within a national contest. We believe that this two-level approach to honors is both fair and reasonable.