The ACTFL Guidelines: A Realistic View of Language that is Problematic for Assessment

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Timothy Hall


Ellis and Larsen-Freeman (2006) state that indices of language fluency and proficiency would be extremely valuable for researchers. Guidelines that provide benchmarks for development are useful for both inter-learner and intra-learner comparability. The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines may be useful for their descriptive power and arguably realistic assumptions of language development. However, the nature of the guidelines’ construct paradoxically limits its usefulness. The following commentary will describe my perspective of the ACTFL’s view of language development and explain why the putative truths about language development and language use limit the utility of the scales.

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