COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 196

October 1, 2004

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Proficiency Levels Approved by the Board of Education for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview and the Writing Proficiency Test

 

 

On September 22, 2004, the Board of Education approved the proficiency level of advanced low for 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 and completing three semester hours of methods of teaching foreign languages from an accredited college or university.

 

On June 23, 2004, the Board of Education approved the use of the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and the Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) as alternate tests to the Modern Language Association (MLA) Proficiency Test for Teachers and Advanced Students. In August 2004 licensed Virginia teaching practitioners participated in an ACTFL OPI and ACTFL WPT validation and standard-setting study to determine the validity of the assessments and minimum proficiency levels or cut scores on these assessments for this licensing provision. The Advisory Board on Teacher Education and Licensure reviewed the results of the study and recommended to the Board of Education a score of advanced low or higher as the proficiency level for Virginia.

 

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-Speaking (Revised 1999). The ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) 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: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, 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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