COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 137

July 9, 2004

 

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Approval of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview and the Writing Proficiency Test as Alternate Tests to the Modern Language Association (MLA) Proficiency Test for Teachers and Advanced Students

 

The Board of Education has approved the use of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview and the Writing Proficiency Test as alternate tests to the Modern Language Association (MLA) Proficiency Test for Teachers and Advanced Students. The Licensure Regulations for School Personnel allow native speakers or candidates who have learned a foreign language without formal academic credit in a college or university to meet the foreign language endorsement requirements by demonstrating proficiency on the MLA test.

 

A study will be conducted in August and presented to the Board of Education in September to establish the proficiency levels for the ACTFL tests. The board did approve, during this interim period of approving the tests and establishing the proficiency levels for the tests, that school divisions may request a one-year provisional license for individuals who have taken the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview and Writing Proficiency Test and have an opportunity for employment during the 2004-05 school year. The individual will need to meet the board proficiency levels, when established, to extend the license beyond

June 30, 2005.

 

The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is a face-to-face or telephone interview between a certified ACTFL tester and examinee that determines how well a person speaks a language by comparing his or her performance of specific communication tasks with the criteria for each of 10 proficiency levels described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines-Writing (Revised 1999). The ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) is a vehicle that measures how well a person spontaneously writes in a language (without access to dictionaries or grammar references) by comparing his or her performance on specific writing tasks with the criteria stated in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines Writing (Revised 2001) descriptions. Written tests are available in the following languages: Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Serbo-Croate, and Spanish. The Spanish, German, and French written tests also are available in computerized tests via the Internet. An individual may register for the tests online; the tests are administered at a school or institution of higher education by an ACTFL approved proctor. The costs of the assessments are as follows: Oral Proficiency Interview--$129; Writing Proficiency Test--$65; both Oral Proficiency and Written Tests--$160.

 

If you have questions regarding the ACTFL tests, please contact Dr. Thomas A. Elliott, assistant superintendent for teacher education and licensure, (telliott@pen.k12.va.us) at 804-371-2522 or Mrs. Patty S. Pitts, director of licensure, (ppitts@pen.k12.va.us) at (804) 371-2471.

 

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