Proficiency measures what learners can actually DO with language in real world situations, rather than the content covered in class. When language learners interact with individuals who speak the target language or found themselves in the country where the target language they’re studying is spoken, how would they get by? What could they do to communicate with the people who live there? Teaching and assessing for proficiency keeps the focus on the true goal of learning languages which is communication.
How is proficiency evaluated?
The American Council for the teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has established a proficiency scale that articulates what learners can do at five broad levels: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior, and Distinguished. K-12 programs can realistically bring students to the Advanced level. Within each broad level, proficiency is broken down to Low, Mid, and High (ACTFL, 2012). DCPS measures proficiency through STAMP, ALIRA, and Integrated Performance Assessments.
Listed below are the pathways for language instruction and DCPS proficiency targets for each level. The top two rows are adjusted to represent students that may be new to the District, entering middle or high school with no previous language instruction.