An Evaluation of the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines

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Li-hsin Tu


Reading through the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines for the first time, one may think that the criteria used to measure proficiency in second language (L2) listening, speaking, reading, and writing seem to make a lot of sense. One could assume that from the Novice level through the Intermediate level, then to the Advanced level and beyond, a learner would begin to acquire a L2 by first learning isolated words, often starting with cognates or borrowed words similar to those from the first language (L1). After having acquired many isolated points, the learner would then start to connect these points together to form lines and make comprehensible sentences. After that, the learner would learn to consider cultural context and the pragmatic aspects of language use, expanding the existing dimensions of context-independent lines to form a multi-dimensional knowledge base, working toward becoming more native-like in using the L2.

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