ACTFL is currently is undertaking an important study to determine the listening and reading proficiency levels that may be attained after several years of college language study. With the 2012 revision of the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and the development of ACTFL Listening and Reading Proficiency Tests (LPTs and RPTs) in a number of languages, measurement of listening and reading proficiency levels of U.S. college students has now become possible. Approximately 20 colleges have participated in the study so far, from large state universities, private universities, and colleges to regional universities and colleges. Close to 4,000 tests have been administered in both modalities.
By the end of this year, ACTFL expects to have close to double this amount of data (i.e., approximately 8,000 tests—with 4,000 in each listening and reading). Data has been collected for Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian, in all levels of college language instruction. By the end of the year, there will also be data for Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and Korean. This study comes at a key time when many language educators are rediscovering interpretive skills, their role in language acquisition, and their role in higher education. Another reason why this study is very timely is the possibility that receptive skills (i.e., listening, reading) develop much faster than productive ones (i.e., speaking, writing)—that they may even provide the crucial foundation for productive skills to move beyond the Intermediate Mid threshold. Measuring academic success on the basis of the oral proficiency interview (OPI) alone can be frustrating for students and instructors because it takes a very long time to get to the Intermediate Mid level (2 years of college instruction).
If, in fact, it is the case that professional (Advanced) levels of proficiency may be achieved in interpretive skills and can be documented, this may give a boost to foreign language departments and their students by documenting these professional skills for students completing a language minor, or perhaps even after a 2-year foreign language requirement. This is particularly important with respect to the global workplace in the 21st century, in which high levels of listening and reading proficiency are crucial.
Be among the first to reserve a copy of the study when it becomes available later this fall by registering now! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.
Lisa March is a bilingual Marketing and Sales Executive. She works closely with LTI on strategic partnerships, business development and marketing. Her efforts help LTI scale the use and implementation of language assessments in schools, institutions, corporations and government agencies.