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Complete Information on The ACTFL Tests--ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI); and The ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT )

ACTFL CERTIFIED PROFICIENCY TESTING PROGRAM:
ORAL AND WRITING PROFICIENCY TESTING
FOR PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS

Please Note: All relevant applications, forms and information are available through the click-on links within this document. Please read carefully.

ACTFL's Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) has been favorably reviewed by the American Council on Education (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service. This means that demonstration of spoken language abilities, as evidenced by an Official ACTFL OPI rating, may now be presented to individual colleges and universities for the awarding of undergraduate college credit with the recommendation of ACE. Upon notification by ACE of the favorable review of the OPI, ACTFL Executive Director, C. Edward Scebold, stated that, "recognition of the ACTFL OPI is acknowledgement of ACTFIs leadership role in establishing criteria for measuring language competence based on performance in real-life contexts.

NOTE: For a telephonic oral assessment, ACTFL requires that a person in an official school capacity place that call and introduce the candidate to the tester at the beginning of the interview to verify the candidate's identity. Please indicate the name, title, telephone number, and fax number of this person (The Proctor) on the application form.


THE ACTFL ORAL PROFICIENCY INTERVIEW

The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview, or ACTFL OPI, is:

  • A standardized procedure for the global assessment of functional speaking ability,
  • A face-to-face or telephonic interview between a certified ACTFL tester and an examinee
  • A criterion referenced test that compares an individual's performance of specific oral communication tasks with the criteria of each of ten proficiency levels described in the ACTFL Proficiency-Guidelines-Speaking (Revised 1999).

The ACTFL OPI takes the form of a carefully structured conversation between a trained and certified interviewer and the person whose speaking proficiency is being assessed. The interview is interactive and continuously adapts to the speaking ability of the individual being tested. There is no script or prescribed set of question; the topics discussed during the interview are based on the interests and experiences of the speaker.

Through a series of personalized questions, the interviewer elicits from the test candidate examples of his or her ability to handle the communication tasks specified for each level of proficiency in order to establish a clear "floor" and "ceiling" of consistent functional ability. Often candidates are asked to take part in a role-play to prove linguistic functions not easily elicited through the conversational format.

Since the ACTFL OPI is an assessment of functional speaking ability, independent of any specific curriculum, it is irrelevant when, where, why and under what conditions the candidate acquired his/her speaking ability in the language.

The interview lasts from ten to thirty minutes. Each interview is recorded and assigned an initial rating by the tester. Then, a second certified tester blindly rates the interview. Under the supervision of the ACTFL Testing Office, Language Testing International, a final rating is assigned and an ACTFL OPI Certificate is issued via a downloadable form from www.languagetesting.com/individual (I.D. and password to be assigned once application and payment are received.)

THE ACTFL WRITING PROFICIENCY TEST

The ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test, or ACTFL WPT is:

  • A standardized procedure for the global assessment of functional writing ability,
  • A test that requires the examinee to read prompts in English and compose written responses in the target language without the aid of dictionaries or grammar references.
  • A criterion referenced test that compares an individual's performance of specific communication tasks with the criteria for each of ten proficiency levels described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines-Writing revised by ACTFL in 2001

The ACTFL OPI takes the form of a carefully constructed assessment with four requests for written responses dealing with practical, social and professional topics that are encountered in informal and formal contexts. The writer is presented with tasks and contexts that represent the range of proficiency levels from Novice to Superior on the ACTFL scale. The tasks and prompts are articulated in English with the expectation that the responses be written in the target language. The prompts ask for written constructed responses of paragraph length or longer demonstrating narrative writing, informative writing and persuasive writing.

Since the ACTFL WPT is an assessment of functional writing ability independent of any specific curriculum, it irrelevant when, where, why and under what conditions the candidate acquired his/her writing ability in the language.

The examinee is given 90 minutes to read the directions and complete the test. A completed WPT is reviewed by an ACTFL certified testers to assign the ACTFL proficiency rating that best describes the proficiency demonstrated by the individual. The test is then forwarded to another ACTFL certified tester for a second independent ("blind") rating for final rating confirmation.

THE ACTFL CERTIFIED TESTERS

ACTFL OPIs are conducted and rated by ACTFL certified proficiency testers. ACTFL WPTs are also rated by ACTFL certified raters. These testers and raters are highly specialized language professionals who have completed a rigorous training process that concludes with a tester's demonstrated ability to consistently elicit ratable samples and to rate samples with a high degree of reliability. ACTFL strictly monitors all testing and rating.

ACTFL ASSESSMENT IN 58 LANGUAGES

As of the printing of this brochure, ACTFL provides certified oral proficiency testing in the 58 languages listed below. The ACTFL writing proficiency test is offered in the 12 languages that are highlighted.

Afrikaans, Albanian, Armenian, Arabic, Armenian, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Cebuano, Chavacano, Croatian, Czech, Dari, Dutch, Egyptian, English, Filipino, Flemish, French, German, Georgian, Modern Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hilgaynon, Hindi, Hmong, Ilokano, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Khmer, Korean, Malay, Mandarin, Norwegian, Pashto, Persian Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Serbian, Slovak, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Tausug, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese

FEES FOR INDIVIDUAL OPI

Individual Certified ACTFL OPI $134.00
Individual Certified ACTFL WPT $ 55.00
Rescheduling Fee $ 55.00
Missed OPI appointment/No Show $ 55.00
Express Processing Service $ 50.00

Payment may be made by credit card authorization (MasterCard or Visa), money order, or personal check. Payment must accompany application form(s).

 

SCHEDULING AN ACTFL OPI

APPLICATIONS, FORMS & INFORMATION

Step 1. Complete an Application Form: Click here for Individual OPI Application (required)

Use and complete an ACTFL Proficiency Assessment Application Form for Virginia Teachers and the Test-taker Waiver attached to the application.

Step 2. Telephonic OPI

You may request an OPI to be taken telephonically at your own school/university, if you have an appropriate, approved proctor as identified below.

At your school or university.
Telephonic OPI- requires the presence of a required Proctor* who:

  • Completes and signs a Proctor agreement form:  Click here for OPI Proctor Agreements (required)
  • Places the call to the OPI Tester at the schedule time of the test;
  • Introduces the test candidate to the OPI Tester
  • Confirms the name and identity of the examinee
  • Is free to leave after introduction

*K12 Schools and School District Proctors:
A proctor at a K12 school or school district may only be a Principal, Assistant Principal, Dean, Administrative Assistant to the Principal or Dean, School District HR personnel, or Academic Chair. No other administrators or staff may act as proctors.

*University or College Proctors:
A proctor at a college may be a Professor, Department Chair, Dept. Administrative Assistant or Teacher Education Coordinator

* If a long distance call cannot be placed from the Proctor's office telephone, the test candidate should bring a phone card to use in order to place and charge the phone call.

Step 3. Submit Application Package

For your test request to be processed, you must submit ALL the below:

  1. A completed OPI application; including a check, money order, or credit card authorization
  2. The OPI Proctor Form signed by your proctor, if you are requesting an OPI to take place at your school
  3. A completed Test-Taker Agreement

Incomplete application packages will NOT be processed.

Step 4. Wait for notification of your OPI Appointment.

Once your application has been processed you will be sent an e-mail with your confirmed test date, time and other instructions. This e-mail will provide you with a unique ID and PASSWORD to access your test information and status on the LTI Test Candidate Website (www.languagetesting.com/individual). Please keep this important e-mail and website information. Using this website and secure password, you will be able to verify the date and time of your OPI and, after the test, check the status of your test result. On this website, you will be able to print your ACTFL OPI Proficiency Certificate.

The Proctor also will also be notified of the OPI date, time and telephone number by E-mail.

Step 5. Confirm Appointment

Finalize appointment arrangement with Proctor. All appointments are considered confirmed, unless we receive notification from the candidate or proctor.

Rescheduled or missed OPI Appointments

In the event that an appointment needs to be rescheduled:

  • Contact the LTI Test Coordinator immediately (800-486-8444 extension 14). There is no charge for appointments that are rescheduled prior to one business day before the scheduled appointment.
  • For appointments that are cancelled or rescheduled within 24 hours of the test, there is a $55.00 rescheduling/cancellation fee.
  • For missed appointments there is a $55.00 fee.

Cancelled Application

There is a fee of $55.00 for cancelled applications which will be deducted from your refund should you cancel an application.

NOTIFICATION OF OPI RESULTS

Once the rating of your test is completed, you will be able to view the test result and print your ACTFL Oral Proficiency Certificate on the LTI Individual Information Center site (www.languagetesting.com/individual) using your unique ID and password. The Pennsylvanian Department of Education will receive the candidate's test results via an electronic report. There is no need for the test candidate to forward copies of the test result to the Virginia Department of Education. Each test becomes a permanent record in the ACTFL Test Archive.

ACE College Credit Recommendation for ACTFL OPI Ratings
The American Council on Education (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service has established college credit recommendations for Official ACTFL OPI ratings. For more information on ACE credit recommendations, visit the ACE website at www.acenet.edu/calec/corporate

 

SCHEDULING AN ACTFL WPT

APPLICATIONS, FORMS & INFORMATION

STEP 1. Complete an Application Form: Click here for WPT Application (required)

Use an ACTFL Proficiency Assessment Application Form or apply online for Pennsylvania Teachers.

STEP 2.WPT Test Site and Proctor

You may request an OPI to be taken telephonically at your own school/university, if you have an appropriate, approved proctor as identified below.

At your school or university.
An Internet WPT must be administered and proctored by an approved Proctor* who:

  • Complete Proctor Form: Click here for WPT Proctor Agreements (required)
  • Follows test proctor instructions for internet administration of the test.
  • Confirm the identity of the candidate by checking picture ID on the test date.
  • Place the candidate at a quiet computer terminal with Internet access(Internet Testing is only available in English, French, German and Spanish. Other languages are administered only at LTI in booklet form.)
  • Proctor the test for the 90-minute duration of the test.

*K12 Schools and School District Proctors:
A proctor at a K12 school or school district may only be a Principal, Assistant Principal, Dean, Administrative Assistant to the Principal or Dean, School District HR personnel, or Academic Chair. No other administrators or staff may act as proctors.

*University or College Proctors:
A proctor at a college may be a Professor, Department Chair, Dept. Administrative Assistant or Teacher Education Coordinator

* If a long distance call cannot be placed from the Proctor's office telephone, the test candidate should bring a phone card to use in order to place and charge the phone call.

Step 3. Submit Application Package
For your test request to be processed, you must submit ALL the below:

  1. A completed WPT application; including a check, money order, or credit card authorization
  2. The WPT Proctor Form signed by your proctor, if you are requesting an internet WPT to take place at your school
  3. A completed Test-Taker Agreement

Incomplete application packages will NOT be scheduled.

STEP 4. Wait for notification your WPT assignment

Once your application has been processed, you will be sent an e-mail that your WPT may be scheduled with your proctor. The same e-mail will provide a unique ID and PASSWORD for you to use on the LTI Test Candidate website (www.languagetesting.com) to be able to access your test status and results.

Your WPT proctor will also receive an e-mail with WPT instructions. You will then need to determine with your proctor the weekday and time (between 8am and 5pm Eastern Time) for the proctor to administer the WPT to you by computer in his or her office. If you or your WPT proctor have any questions regarding the administration of the WPT, please write us as testing@languagetesting.com

 

NOTIFICATION WPT RESULTS

Once the rating of your test is completed, you will be able to view the test result and print your ACTFL Writing Proficiency Certificate on the LTI Test Candidate website (www.languagetesting.com/individual) using your ID and password. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Certification and Professional Development will receive the candidate's test results via an electronic report. There is no need for the test candidate to forward copies of the test result to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Certification.

 PREPARING FOR AN OPI AND WPT

To prepare, make opportunities to speak the target language, making sure to tell stories (in as much detail as possible) about personal and professional experiences that have happened, are happening and will happen. Do the same thing in writing by writing essays about personal and professional experiences that have happened, are happening and will happen, making sure to give background information as well as details of the experience.

TEST TAKING TIPS FOR AN OPI AND WPT

When taking the oral proficiency interview, listen carefully to the questions asked by the interviewer before answering. When answering, give as detailed a response as possible. Saying little to avoid making mistakes will not improve your rating. If you do not know a specific term in the target language, describe it and try not resort to another language or making up words. (If you do use a foreign word or slang term, do not be surprised if the interviewer asks you to describe what that word means in the target language.)

When taking the writing test, read the directions for each of the four prompts carefully. Make sure that your written response addresses the tasks and specifications outlined in the prompt. For example, if the prompt asks you describe a specific work experience you have had, be sure to recount the details of a specific work experience and not just give a general description of your work experience. It is also very important that you follow the time allocation specified for each prompt. If a prompt asks you to give a brief description of a paragraph in length that should not take more than ten minutes to write, do not respond to that prompt by writing five paragraphs and taking twenty-five minutes. If you do this, you will not have enough time to address later prompts fully.

LTI: The ACTFL Testing Office
Fax: 914-963-7113
testing@languagetesting.com
www.languagetesting.com

Exclusive Licensee of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Inc.

Back to LTI Home

ACTEL Announces ACE College Credit Recommendation for
Official ACTEL OPI Rating

"This brings the ACTEL OPI into the same arena with language tests like the College Board's AP Program,TOFEL and other proficiency tests that already receive ACE credit recommendations."

�We are very excited about this development,� says Elvira Swender, Director of ACTFL Professional Programs and Director of the ACTFL Proficiency Testing Program. �This is a logical next step for ACTFL Proficiency Testing, bringing the ACTFL OPI into the same arena with other language tests like the College Board�s Advanced Placement (AP Program), the College Board�s College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), and various U.S. Government Proficiency Tests, that already receive ACE credit recommendations.�

Swender explains that the OPI�s credit status should be of help to students and colleges alike. The OPI is a holistic test that acknowledges language competence, regardless of where or how it is gained. By enabling language learners to be tested for life experience in a standardized way, the OPI can help both the student and the educational institution achieve an accurate picture of the individual�s level of spo- ken language capabilities. This kind of assessment might be particularly helpful, for instance, in the case of military personnel, Peace Corps volunteers, and missionaries� people who have lived abroad in a non�English-speaking country for some time and who have gained language com- petence outside of the traditional college setting and now seek to have that competence tested and acknowledged for credit by an educational institution.

The credit recommendation will also assist individual colleges and universities to assign credit for spoken lan- guage competencies. Although many college foreign lan- guage programs already accept OPI ratings for credit award, there are other colleges that either may not have foreign language programs or that may not offer the specific languages for which their students wish to be award- ed credit. These schools can use ACE college credit recommendations to guide them in granting transfer credits for the ACTFL OPI ratings.

"ACE's review of the ACTFL OPI was a response to an existing need," Swender says, explaining that the review was initiated by inquiry and request from ACE, which in turn had been approached by individuals with language proficiency gained in immersion environments. ACE determined that the ACTFL OPI, covering 37 languages, merited a program review The review was undertaken in late March 2000 at ACE'S Center for Adult Learning and Educational Credentials, the adult learning arm of ACE, in Washington, DC.

For the review ACTFL presented a detailed description with supporting documentation of the OPI process, including samples of recorded interviews conducted in various languages. The ten possible OPT ratings were described in detail, as was the extensive training procedure required for ACTFL tester certification and re-certification. In turn, ACE reviewed the specific OPI test, focusing on test content, intent, and format, and made a detailed assessment of both content validity and technical adequacy.

The review team reported that, "information supplied by ACTFL regarding item/task development, trial testing, editing and final implementation meet or exceed industry standards." Their findings describe the ACTFL OPI as, " a very flexible testing instrument that is easily adapted to many situations and allows for face-to-face interactions without a prescribed set of test questions. Another strong point is the intensive training of test administrators so that they assess test takers' speaking abilities in a language." ACE concluded that the ACTFL OPI is worthy of college-level credit recommendation.

The accompanying chart shows the number of recom- mended credits by OPT rating and by category of language difficulty.

"We anticipate a significant rise in the number of requests for Official ACTFL OPIs resulting from the ACE credit recommendation," says Helen Hamlyn, of the ACTFL Testing Office, Language Testing International. The ACTFL Testing Office schedules more than 7,000 OPIs annually in 37 languages and has already prepared for the expected increase in testing. Those individuals interested in scheduling an Official ACTFL OPT can do so by contacting the ACTFL Testing Office at (914-948-5100).

The ACTFL OPI is a standardized procedure for the global assessment of functional language ability It measures spoken language production holistically by determining patterns of strengths and weaknesses and establishes a candidate's level of consistent functional ability as well as the clear upper limitations of that ability It is a criterion-referenced testing method that measures how well a person functions in a language by comparing the individual's performance of specific language tasks with the criteria for each of the ten proficiency levels described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines-Speaking (Revised 1999). Since the OPI is an assessment of functional language skills, it is irrelevant when, where, why and under what conditions the person being tested acquired his or her language ability The OPI is a face-to-face or telephonic interview conducted between a certified ACTFL tester and language candidate, that lasts between ten and thirty minutes. A ratable sample is elicited from the interviewee through a series of personalized questions that follow established ACTFL protocol of warm-up, repeated level checks and probes, and wind-down. Test candidates are often asked to take part in a role-play which presents the opportunity for them to perform linguistic functions that cannot be elicited through the conversation format. The speech sample is then compared to the criteria for the ten proficiency levels, and a rating is assigned. Each recorded interview is evaluated and rated by a second certified tester and an official certificate is issued. Official ACTFL OPTs can be scheduled through the ACTFL Testing Office at (914) 948-5100.

ACE is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1918 as an umbrella organization of approximately 1,800 U.S. colleges and universities. It provides a forum for discus- sion and decision-making on education issues of national importance and seeks to coordinate the interests of all segments of the higher education community into a single voice. The ACE College Credit Recommendation Service, founded in 1974, assists adult learners in gaining academic recognition for formal learning acquired outside the traditional college or university setting. The ACE college credit recommendations are published in The National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs and the Guide to Educational Credit by Examination. For more information, contact Melissa Smith, Assistant Director of Outreach & Communications, 202-939-9349.

TELEPHONIC ORAL PROFICIENCY INTERVIEW (OPI) APPOINTMENT FORM AND
ACE CREDIT RECOMMENDATION

Dear Applicant:

On the following pages, please find the application, test-taker agreement and consent form for an Official ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI).

For information on earning ACE College Credits please click here. Please indicate on your application that you wish to register with ACE and a transcript will be mailed to you after your OPI test has been completed.

Please complete the following application and submit it with your credit card payment and all the required forms. We will then contact you within 10 business days with your test time/date.

Once your application has been processed, you will be sent an ID and PASSWORD via email to be able to access your test information. As soon as we have your final rating, it will be posted at www.languagetesting.com/individual. At that point you will have an option to print out a certificate. Please allow UP TO 4 WEEKS to receive your final rating.

If you wish to have the official results mailed to you, please complete the section entitled "Send Official Copy" on your application form, along with an additional fee of $10.00.

Inform us immediately if you will not be available at the scheduled time and date, as you will be charged $55 for a missed appointment.

If you have any questions, please send email to admin@languagetesting.com.

Cordially,

LTI Test Administration

NOTE: For a telephonic oral assessment, ACTFL requires that a person in an official school capacity place that call and introduce the candidate to the tester at the beginning of the interview to verify the candidate's identity. Please indicate the name, title, telephone number, and fax number of this person (The Proctor) on the application form.