Oral Proficiency Interview

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An Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is a standardized, global assessment of functional speaking ability. Taking the form of a conversation between the tester and test-taker, the test measures how well a person speaks a language by assessing their performance of a range of language tasks against specified criteria.[1] In the United States, the criteria for each of ten proficiency levels are described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, devised by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

In an OPI, the test-taker is interviewed by a certified ACTFL tester, who guides the conversation to explore the abilities and limits of the individual’s oral target language abilities. During the course of the interview, the interviewee is guided to engage in a variety of tasks such as describing, narrating, and hypothesizing. The interview is recorded and scored by the interviewer as well as a second certified tester using the following scale: Superior, Advanced High, Advanced Mid, Advanced Low, Intermediate High, Intermediate Mid, Intermediate Low, Novice High, Novice Mid, Novice Low.[2]

The levels of ACTFL’s scale can be conceived as an inverse triangle, with the “Superior” rating at the top representing a wide range of skill in linguistic structures, vocabulary, and fluency. The Novice Low category forms the bottom point of the triangle, showing little functional knowledge of the language. Each progressive category represents broader skills and depth of knowledge. While one can progress relatively quickly through the Novice levels, progress is much slower through the upper ratings.

OPI is generally used for native speakers of English, but it was adopted in South Korea after the computer version was developed by the Korean computer company Credu. In September 2009, 40,000 people applied to take the test in South Korea.[3]

Oral Proficiency Interview - computer[edit]

Oral Proficiency Interview - computer (OPIc) [4] is a computerized test of English-usage skills[5] developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and Language Testing International (LTI). It is a computer-based version of the OPI.[6] OPIc is a kind of test business interview. The one-hour test is a series of recorded questions which are assessed by computer. The test scores have seven levels. The evaluations are done by ACTFL professionals in the United States.


  1. ^ Breiner-Sanders, Karen E.; Pardee Low, Jr.; John Miles; Elvira Swender (January–February 2000). "ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines--Speaking" (PDF). Foreign Language Annals. 33 (I): 13–18. doi:10.1111/j.1944-9720.2000.tb00885.x. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Testing for Proficiency". Proficiency Testing. American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  3. ^ "[In depth interview] English more than just a resume-builder". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Oral Proficiency Interview by Computer® (OPIc)". Language Testing International. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Daum 카페". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  6. ^ "New English tests frustrate employees". Retrieved 20 October 2016.