Oral Proficiency Levels in the Workplace

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) developed a scale to demonstrate the main language functions that a learner can perform with full control at each of the major levels. The chart shows the connection of the levels of the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines with the rating system used by the federal government, agencies, and armed services. Important messages reinforced by this chart includes:

1. Two years of studying a language is NOT sufficient (no jobs have the Novice level as the minimum entry requirement).

2. The professions or positions that correspond to each proficiency level are based on analysis of the minimal language requirements for each job, determined by experts from companies and agencies who use ACTFL proficiency tests. Factors include how controlled or unpredictable are the situations one encounters in that job and also how repetitive, creative, or abstract is the language needed. Educators can help learners by designing learning activities that are less teacher-controlled and that encourage less predictable responses.

3. Studying a language may get a person into Advanced levels, but experiences immersed in the environment of the target language and culture are needed to reach the highest levels. Providing more authentic, real-world situations or applications in our classrooms can speed up the journey to higher levels for language learners.

Download the chart below and share the information with your language learners, parents, administrators, and other stakeholders.

 CLICK HERE to download the Oral Proficiency in the Workplace Chart.

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.