ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines

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The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines were created by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in order to provide a means of assessing the proficiency of a foreign language speaker.

The guidelines are broken up into different proficiency levels: novice, intermediate, advanced, superior, and distinguished. Additionally, each of these (except superior and distinguished) is further subdivided into low, mid and high. These proficiency levels are defined separately for ability to listen, speak, read and write. Thus, in those American programs that emphasize written language over spoken, students may reach the advanced level in reading and writing while remaining at a lower level in listening and speaking.

ACTFL levels are primarily used in academic circles, while the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) is used to measure both government and military proficiency in the United States. An equivalency chart can be found below:

Novice - Low 0
Novice - Mid 0/0+
Novice - High 0+
Intermediate - Low 1
Intermediate - Mid 1/1+
Intermediate - High 1+
Advanced - Low 2
Advanced - Mid 2/2+
Advanced - High 2+
Superior 3
Distinguished 4 and above


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