American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

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ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) is an organization aiming to improve and expand the teaching and learning of all languages at all levels of instruction. ACTFL is an individual membership organization of more than 13,000 language educators and administrators from elementary through graduate education, as well as in government and industry.[1]

Founded in 1967 as a small offshoot of the Modern Language Association (MLA), ACTFL quickly became both a resource and a haven for language educators. Since then, the organization has set industry standards, established proficiency guidelines, advocated for language education funding, and connected colleagues at the ACTFL Annual Convention.[2]

ACTFL language proficiency guidelines[edit]

The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines provide a means of assessing the proficiency of a foreign language speaker. It is widely used in schools and universities in the United States[3] and the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview is the most widely used oral proficiency test in North America.[4]

The guidelines are broken up into different proficiency levels:

  • novice – subdivided into low (NL), mid (NM), and high (NH)
  • intermediate – subdivided into low (IL), mid (IM), and high (IH)
  • advanced – subdivided into low (AL), mid (AM), and high (AH)
  • superior (S)
  • distinguished (D)

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.


  • 2021: Jessica Haxhi[5]
  • 2020: Bridget Yaden
  • 2019: Lisa Ritter
  • 2018: Aleidine Moeller
  • 2017: Desa Dawson
  • 2016: Pete Swanson
  • 2015: Jacque Bott van Houten
  • 2014: Mary Lynn Redmond
  • 2013: Toni Theisen
  • 2012: David McAlpine
  • 2011: Barbara Mondloch
  • 2010: Eileen Glisan, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Teacher of the Year[edit]

Each year the organization names the ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year. The Teacher of the Year becomes a spokesperson for the language profession to increase the visibility of the importance of learning languages and cultures to the general public.[6]

  • 2021: Elena Kamenetzky, Eastern High School, KY[7][8][9][10]
  • 2020: Rebecca Blouwolf[11]
  • 2019: Rebecca E. Aubrey, Ashford School, CT
  • 2018: Ying Jin, Cupertino High School, CA
  • 2017: Katrina Griffin, North County High School, MD
  • 2016: Edward Zarrow, Westwood High School, MA
  • 2015: Nicole Naditz, Bella Vista High School, CA
  • 2014: Linda Egnatz, Lincoln-Way Community High School, IL
  • 2013: Noah Geisel, Denver East High School, CO
  • 2012: Yo Azama, North Salinas High School, CA
  • 2011: Clarissa Adams-Fletcher, Dunwoody High School, GA

The Language Educator[edit]

The Language Educator (TLE) magazine is ACTFL's membership publication. TLE is published quarterly with issues available to members in print and for digital download and via a mobile app. [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About ACTFL | ACTFL".
  2. ^ "History of ACTFL | ACTFL".
  3. ^ Theresa Ulrich (28 December 2020). The Influence of the Foreign Service Institute on US Language Education: Critical Analysis of Historical Documentation. Taylor & Francis. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-00-033057-1. The ACTFL scale and descriptors are still one of the most widely used foreign language proficiency assessment frameworks in public schools, colleges, and universities nationwide
  4. ^ Anne Lazaraton; University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (18 July 2002). A Qualitative Approach to the Validation of Oral Language Tests. Cambridge University Press. pp. 6–. ISBN 978-0-521-00267-7.
  5. ^ "Jessica Haxhi | ACTFL".
  6. ^ "Teacher of the Year Program | ACTFL".
  7. ^ "ACTFL Names 2021 National Language Teacher of the Year | ACTFL".
  8. ^ Kobin, Billy. "Louisville educator receives National Language Teacher of the Year award". The Courier-Journal.
  9. ^ "Eastern High School Teacher named 2021 National Language Teacher of the Year | JCPS".
  10. ^ "ACTFL Names 2021 National Language Teacher of the Year".
  11. ^ "ACTFL Names 2020 National Language Teacher of the Year | ACTFL".
  12. ^ "The Language Educator | ACTFL".

External links[edit]