Proficiency and Research-Based Proficiency Targets

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Learn more about proficiency targets.

What Is Language Proficiency?

Language proficiency is defined as the ability of an individual to use culturally appropriate language to communicate spontaneously in non-rehearsed contexts. Proficiency also refers to the degree of skill with which a person can use a language to understand, speak, read and write in real-life situations. One of the primary goals of Ohio’s New Learning Standards for K-12 World Languages is to enable more Ohio language learners to acquire advanced levels of proficiency in a modern, classical or visual language other than English.

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, or ACTFL, distinguishes between 11 distinct levels of proficiency, represented by an inverted pyramid.

It is important to understand that different languages are categorized by their degree of difficulty for native English-speakers. Aspects such as the nature of its writing system, grammar, and tonality are some of the factors which contribute to the perceived difficulty in learning a particular language.

Languages taught in Ohio can be categorized according to criteria developed by the Foreign Language Institute:

Level 1 Difficulty

Level 2 Difficulty

Level 3 Difficulty

Level 4 Difficulty

French

ASL

Greek (Modern)

Arabic

Italian

German

Hebrew

Japanese

Latin

Swahili

Hindi

Korean

Portuguese

 

Polish

Mandarin Chinese

Spanish

 

Russian

 

 

 

Somali

 

To assist schools and districts with setting appropriate proficiency targets for K-12 learners, the Ohio Department of Education has conducted extensive research in order to create the following sets of proficiency targets. When using these charts, it is important to keep in mind that different learners develop language proficiency at different rates as the result of a variety of factors. It must be clearly stated there will be students who fall below and students who surpass the targeted levels.These targets are intended to provide local language programs with informed guidance and should in no way be construed as a state mandate.

Proficiency Level Target Charts

 

Middle School/High School Proficiency Targets for Level 1 & 2 Difficulty Languages

These include modern alphabetic languages and classical languages that are taught with a balanced emphasis on reading, writing, listening and speaking.

 

 

MODE AND SKILL

LEVEL  I

135-150 hours

LEVEL  II

270-300 hours

LEVEL  III

405-450 hours

LEVEL  IV

540-600 hours

LEVEL  V

675-750 hours

LEVEL  VI

825-900 hours

INTERPRETIVE

Listening

Novice Mid

Novice High

Int.

Low

Int.

Mid

Int. High

Int. High

Adv. Low

INTERPRETIVE

Reading

Novice Mid

Novice High

Int.

Low

Int.

Mid

Int. Mid

Int. High

 

Int. High

INTERPERSONAL

Speaking

Novice Mid

Novice High

Int.

Low

Int.

Mid

Int. High

Int. High

Adv. Low

PRESENTATIONAL

Speaking

Nov. Low

Nov. Mid

Nov. High

Int. Low

Int. Mid

Int. High

Nov. Mid

Nov. High

Int. Low

Int. Mid

PRESENTATIONAL

Writing

Novice Mid

Novice High

Int.

Low

Int.

Mid

Int. Mid

Int. High

Int. High

 

Middle School/High School Proficiency Targets for  Level 3 & 4 Difficulty Languages

These include logographic languages that are taught with a balanced emphasis on reading, writing, listening and speaking.

 

MODE AND SKILL

LEVEL  I

135-150 hours

LEVEL  II

270-300 hours

LEVEL  III

405-450 hours

LEVEL  IV

540-600 hours

LEVEL  V

675-750 hours

LEVEL  VI

825-900 hours

INTERPRETIVE

Listening

Novice Mid

Nov. Mid

Novice High

Int. Low

Int.  Low

Int. Mid

Nov. High

Int. Mid

INTERPRETIVE

Reading

Novice Low

Novice Mid

Novice Mid

Novice High

Int. Low

Int. Low

Novice High

INTERPERSONAL

Speaking

Novice Mid.

Nov. Mid

Novice

High

Int. Low

Int. Low

Int. Mid

Nov. High

Int. Mid

PRESENTATIONAL

Speaking

Novice Low

Novice Mid.

Novice Mid.

Novice High

Int.  Low

Int. Low

Novice High

PRESENTATIONAL

Writing

Novice Low

Novice Mid

Novice Mid

Novice High

Int.  Low

Int. Low

Novice High

 

Elementary FLES* Proficiency Targets for  Level 1 & 2 Difficulty Languages

These include modern alphabetic languages taught via elementary school/middle school FLES programs at a minimum of 3 times per week and a minimum of 90 minutes of instruction per week.

 

MODE AND SKILL

End of 2nd year

End of 3rd year

End of 4th year

End of 5th year

End of 6th year

End of

7th year

End of

8th year

INTERPRETIVE

Listening

Novice Mid

Novice Mid

Novice Mid

Novice High

Novice High

Novice High

Int.

Low

INTERPRETIVE

Reading

Novice Low

Novice Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

High

Novice High

Novice

High

INTERPERSONAL

Speaking

Novice Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

High

Novice High

Novice High

Int.

Low

PRESENTATIONAL

Speaking

Novice Low

Novice Low

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice High

Novice High

PRESENTATIONAL 

Writing

 

Novice Low

Novice Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

High

Novice

High

Novice High

*FLES = Foreign Language in the Elementary School

Elementary FLES Proficiency Targets for Level 3 & 4 Difficulty Languages

These include logographic languages taught via elementary/middle school FLES programs at a minimum of 3 times per week and a minimum of 90 minutes of instruction per week.

 

MODE AND SKILL

End of 2nd year

End of 3rd year

End of 4th year

End of 5th year

End of 6th year

End of

7th year

End of

8th year

INTERPRETIVE

Listening

Novice Mid

Novice Mid

Novice Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice High

Novice High

Novice

High

INTERPRETIVE

Reading

Novice Low

Novice Low

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

High

Nov. Mid

Nov. High

INTERPERSONAL

Speaking

Novice Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice High

Novice High

Novice

High

PRESENTATIONAL

Speaking

Novice Low

Novice Low

Novice

Low

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice High

Nov. Mid

PRESENTATIONAL 

Writing

Novice Low

Novice Low

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice

Mid

Novice High

Nov. Mid

Nov. High

 

K-12 Immersion Program Proficiency Targets for Level 1 & 2 Difficulty Languages

These include modern alphabetic languages that are taught with a balanced emphasis on reading, writing, listening and speaking.

 

MODE AND SKILL

End of K-2

End of 3-5

End of 6-8

End of 9-12

INTERPRETIVE

COMMUNICATION:

Listening

Novice High

Int. Low

Int. Mid

Adv. Low

INTERPRETIVE COMMUNICATION:

Reading

Novice High

Int. Low

Int. Mid

Adv. Low

INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION:

Speaking

Novice High

Int. Low

Int. Mid

Adv. Low

PRESENTATIONAL COMMUNICATION:

Speaking

Novice Mid

Int. Low

Int. Mid

Adv. Low

PRESENTATIONAL  COMMUNICATION:

Writing

Novice Mid

Int. Low

Int. Mid

Adv. Low

 

K-12 Immersion Program Proficiency Targets for Level 3 & 4 Difficulty Languages

These include logographic languages that are taught with a balanced emphasis on

reading, writing, listening and speaking.

 

MODE AND SKILL

End of K-2

End of 3-5

End of 6-8

End of 9-12

INTERPRETIVE

COMMUNICATION:

Listening

Novice High

Int. Low

Int. Mid

Adv. Low

INTERPRETIVE COMMUNICATION:

Reading

Novice Mid

Novice High

Int. Low

Int. High

INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION:

Speaking

Novice High

Int. Low

Int. Mid

Adv. Low

PRESENTATIONAL COMMUNICATION:

Speaking

Novice Mid

Int. Low

Int. Mid

Int. High

PRESENTATIONAL  COMMUNICATION:

Writing

Novice Low

Novice High

Int. Low

Int. High

 

 


Sources

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.  “ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012.”  www.actfl.org/files/public/ACTFLProficiencyGuidelines2012_FINAL.pdf.

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.  “North Carolina World Language Essential Standards: Classical Languages, Dual & Heritage Languages, Modern Languages.” September, 2010. www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/acre/standards/new-standards/foreign-language/world-language.pdf.

 

Last Modified: 11/14/2014 4:02:48 PM

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