Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why use an ACTFL Test? 

ACTFL provides widely recognized and reliable testing in over 100 languages. Many organizations specify that they will only accept ratings from ACTFL because they know they can trust the results of the testing. Since the 1980s, ACTFL has been developing testing instruments and delivering proficiency ratings across academia, corporate and government – independent 3rd-party reviews of the tests, and of the raters, demonstrate that their tests and scores are valid, reliable, and legally defensible.

What is the relationship between ACTFL and LTI?

ACTFL is a not-for-profit organization that develops all official ACTFL language proficiency assessments. ACTFL also prepares and certifies all ACTFL testers and raters. LTI is the exclusive licensee of ACTFL assessments; our testing and rating platform delivers ACTFL assessments to test takers and facilitates all ACTFL ratings.

Have the tests been validated by independent, external reviewers?

The ACTFL assessments have been researched and validated by independent researchers. A bibliography of studies of ACTFL assessments can be found here.

Who are the ACTFL testers and raters?

ACTFL certified testers are highly specialized language professionals, from leading universities and government language programs. They have at least an M.A, and many have a Ph.D. They have completed a rigorous, multi-part training process that concludes with a tester’s demonstrated ability to consistently elicit ratable speech samples (OPI/OPIc) and consistently rate samples (OPI/OPIc/WPT) with a high degree of reliability. They must take part in annual tester meetings and refresher workshops, and re-certify every four years.

What skills does the ACTFL TEP measure?

The TEP measures your level of English language proficiency in speaking, writing, listening, and reading.

Proficiency refers to your ability to use language for real-world purposes to accomplish real-world linguistic tasks across a wide range of topics and settings. A proficiency test is different from an achievement test, which measures specific information. For example, in a driver’s test, an achievement test would represent the examination questions about the rules of the road, while a proficiency test shows how well a person can actually drive the car. A language proficiency test is an evaluation of how well you can use language to communicate in real life.

With a proficiency test, it is not possible to get all the answers right. There is no such thing as a perfect score and the results are not compared to those of other test takers. In proficiency tests, your performance is compared to a set of criteria, as defined in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012.

Does it matter where I learned my language?

No. ACTFL assessments are not geared towards a specific type of speaker or learner. Whether you learned your language in school, as an adult, or in your family, the assessments measure your ability to perform real-world tasks.

How are the ACTFL TEP assessments rated?

For the assessments for speaking (OPIc) and writing (WPT), spoken and written examples are captured online and then rated by two highly trained, ACTFL certified raters. The assessments for listening and reading (L&Rcat) are rated by computer.

How much does the ACTFL TEP cost?

The cost of the ACTFL TEP is $150. This includes all three components of the test: speaking, writing, and listening and reading, all administered remotely.

What are the ratings?

Ratings for the ACTFL tests are descriptive. The raters assign one of the following ratings to each component of the test:

Superior

Advanced High

Advanced Mid

Advanced Low

Intermediate High

Intermediate Mid

Intermediate Low

Novice High

Novice Mid

Novice Low

You will receive separate ratings for each component, giving a more customized view of capabilities. For example, it is possible to receive a rating of Intermediate Mid in speaking and Advanced Low in reading. Remember, the TEP is the only assessment to measure language proficiency – a true measure of what you can do with the language.

Read the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines for details about what one can do with the language at each level.

How do the ACTFL TEP ratings compare to TOEFL® scores?

Based on several publications by ETS® as well as the ACTFL English Study, which compared students who took both the TOEFL and the ACTFL tests, Tschirner (2019) found correspondences between ACTFL ratings and TOEFL scores (full report available to academic institutions upon request).

When can I take the ACTFL TEP?

You can schedule the TEP when you are ready, but you must register at least 72 hours in advance. You should try to schedule it at least four weeks before you need the ratings for admissions. Test results and certificate are delivered in approximately 14 days.

How do I prepare for the ACTFL TEP?

Practice speaking and writing in English on a variety of topics. Practice listening to a variety of media and reading a variety of text types. There is no specific test preparation for the ACTFL TEP because it is an assessment of what you can do with language at the time of the test. Only language development over time will impact your rating.

To see how the test works, you can

• Read the ACTFL TEP Familiarization Guide

• Read the ACTFL TEP Examinee Handbook

• Take a demo test for each component of the ACTFL TEP: OPIc, WPT and L&Rcat.

You may access a free demo of each component of the test here:

Speaking (OPIc): https://opicdemo.actfltesting.org/

Writing (WPT): https://wptdemo.actfltesting.org/

Listening and Reading (L&Rcat): https://lrcatdemo.actfltesting.org/

What is on the tests?

The subjects covered in the assessments reflect real-world concerns and cover a range of tasks one might be expected to handle in real life. To get more details about the ACTFL TEP, review the TEP Familiarization Guide and the TEP Examinee Handbook.

For how long are official ratings valid?

Official ACTFL ratings are valid for two years.

How long do I have to wait before retaking the test?

90 days. If you wish to retake the test, we recommend significant study, exposure, or practice to further develop your language skills.

I took the ACTFL TEP but I didn’t get the certificate, or I lost my certificate. Can I get a replacement?

Replacements are available online – please contact us to request one.

How do you ensure that test takers don’t cheat?

Remote proctors confirm the test taker’s identity, monitor the test taker via a webcam, and monitor computer use through software that is temporarily installed on the computer.

How long does it take to get test results?

Test ratings for the ACTFL TEP are available approximately 14 days after the test is taken.

How do I receive my test results?

You will receive an email notification once your results are available. You may access your test results and download your certificates directly from your online account. Please email support@languagetesting.com for assistance.

How do I register for a test?

Click here to register for the ACTFL Test of English Proficiency.

For more information, visit Language Testing International (LTI), the exclusive licensee for all ACTFL proficiency tests or contact us via email at support@languagetesting.com.