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The ACTFL guidelines



The 1986 proficiency guidelines were developed by the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). They represent a hierarchy of global characterizations of integrated performance in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Each description is a representative, not an exhaustive, sample of a particular range of ability, and each level subsumes all previous levels, moving from simple to complex in an "all-before-and-more" fashion.


These guidelines identify stages of proficiency, as opposed to achievement. They do not measure what individuals achieve through specific classroom instruction, but assess what individuals can and cannot do. This is regardless of where, when, or how the language was learned or acquired; thus the words "learned" and "acquired" are used in the broadest sense. These guidelines are not based on a particular linguistic theory or pedagogical method, and are intended for global assessment.

  Click on the part of the following ACTFL Guidelines you want to see:

The form of the guidelines reproduced here was published in 1986 by the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages. They are a product of grants for the U.S. Department of Education and are in the public domain.

See also
  For a comparison of the levels of the ACTFL and ILR scales, see

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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 3.5, published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 1999. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 15 September 1998

© 1999 SIL International