College-level placement for heritage language learners

Jingjing Ji*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The accuracy of placement results undoubtedly affects students' subsequent learning achievements in language programs. Although there has been a growing body of studies in the field of heritage language (HL) education, research on HL placement remains scarce, and little is known about the most appropriate and effective ways to place heritage language learners (HLLs). This article synthesizes and qualitatively analyzes the types of common practices and principles that college-level language programs in the United States have adopted to place HLLs. A total of 752 peer-reviewed journal articles published from 2000 to 2019 were retrieved from three databases, and 16 articles were included for the final content analysis. Three recurring themes, (1) the definitions of HLLs, (2) HL placement methods focusing on biographical questionnaires and locally designed placement tests, and (3) logistics, are identified in the review. This article discusses the current knowledge in these three areas and unpacks the implications for future HL placement design and implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-713
Number of pages24
JournalForeign Language Annals
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • college
  • heritage language learners
  • placement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language


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