What is Proficiency?
Language proficiency refers to what students can do with the language in terms of speaking, listening, reading, and writing in a real-world context, and to what degree. Levels of proficiency are described along a continuum beginning with novice and progressing through intermediate, advanced, superior and distinguished as described by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
Years of Language Learning
End of Level Proficiency Target
1st Year Language Learning
Novice-Mid – Novice High
2nd Year Language Learning
Novice-High – Intermediate Low
Students who achieve Novice level proficiency can respond to simple questions, convey meaning by using lists of words, memorized phrases, and some personalized combinations of words or phrases.
3rd Year Language Learning
Intermediate Low – Intermediate Mid
4th Year Language Learning
5th Year Language Learning
Intermediate Mid – Intermediate High
6th Year Language Learning
Intermediate High – Advanced Low
Intermediate level of proficiency means that students can participate in simple direct conversations, ask and answer questions, handle basic communication needed in daily life, and use discrete sentences and sentence connectors.
Advanced level of proficiency means students acquire the skills to participate in the target language actively in a variety of conversations, both formally and informally, including dealing effectively with unanticipated complications.
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