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OVERVIEW

Flagship programs are required by the funding agency to assess participant language progress. Not only are students assessed as they enter the Flagship domestic programs, they are also tested prior to and immediately following the overseas programs. Below are links to the most frequently used assessments.

Chinese Proficiency Tests

DOMESTIC PROGRAM ASSESSMENTS

The BYU Adaptive Reading Test (ART) and BYU Adaptive Listening Test (ALT), formerly called the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) - BYU tests, were developed with ACTFL and with additional support from The Defense Language National Security Education Office (DLNSEO). The ART has two options, one for traditional characters and one for simplified. However, at the higher levels both options contain a mix of both characters. ART and ALT are computer adaptive, criterion referenced, and internet deliverable. For ease of description, progress within a proficiency level is described using the mnemonic “REDS”, where:

  • R stands for Random ability – or a score that is at or below the level of random guessing.
  • E stands for Emerging ability – or a score that is at least one item better than chance but does not exceeded getting half of the items correct.
  • D stands for Developing skills – or the ability to answer more than half of the items correctly, but not be able to sustain that level of performance at least 70% of the time.
  • S stands for Sustained ability. Using the ILR scale, there is a single threshold score of 70% that represents the lower qualifying boundary for sustained performance at that level. In the ACTFL scale, 70% qualifies for a sustained rating of “Low” and 80% is required for a sustained rating of “Mid”. By definition, it is not possible to earn an ILR “Plus” or an ACTFL “High” sublevel rating unless one shows both sustained ability at that level and developing skills at the next higher level.

BYU ART and BYU ALT must be administered in a proctored environment. Please contact the Chinese Flagship Center to get the detailed registration and testing information or send an email to chinese_flagship@byu.edu for more information.

OVERSEAS PROGRAM ASSESSMENTS

ACTFL-OPI: Oral Proficiency Interview

ACTFL OPI is an assessment of functional speaking ability, independent of any specific curriculum. The ACTFL OPI takes the form of a carefully structured conversation between a trained and certified interviewer and the person whose speaking proficiency is being assessed. The interview is interactive and continuously adapts to the speaking abilities of the individual being tested. The topics that are discussed during the interview are based on the interests and experiences of the test candidate. Through a series of personalized questions, the interviewer elicits from the test candidate examples of his or her ability to handle the communication tasks specified for each level of proficiency in order to establish a clear 'floor' and 'ceiling' of consistent functional ability. Often candidates are asked to take part in a role-play. This task provides the opportunity for linguistic functions not easily elicited through the conversational format. The ACTFL-OPI is taken by all students at least twice. First as part of the overseas capstone admissions process and as and exit exam at the end of the overseas capstone. The latter is done within a month of completing the program and will be coordinated by the overseas program administration.

Students are expected to achieve a high level of language proficiency, 3 or 3+ on the government Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale or Superior on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) managed by the Language International (LTI) is required for all students applying for the Overseas Flagship Capstone Program. This assessment helps measure a student’s Chinese ability. Students will also take a post OPI test to measure improvement after the Overseas program. See correspondence of language proficiency scales. The ten proficiency levels are:


Superior

Intermediate Mid

Advanced High

Intermediate Low

Advanced Mid

Novice High

Advanced Low

Novice Mid

Intermediate High

Novice Low

ACTFL-WPT: Writing Proficiency Test

The Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) is delivered via the web, and consists of several prompts, which are customized to reflect the interests and experience of the test-taker. The candidate is presented with four to five prompts for written responses dealing with practical, social, and professional topics that are familiar to the individual and of general and/or cultural relevance, encountered in both formal and informal contexts. The responses are assessed by certified ACTFL raters, and results provided against the ACTFL scale. The test takes 60-80 minutes, depending on the range of proficiency being assessed. The WPT is always administered in a proctored environment during a testing window pre-determined by your program administration.

ACTFL OPI-c: Oral Proficiency Interview by Computer

The OPIc is an internet delivered test which provides valid and reliable oral proficiency testing on a large scale. It was developed in response to the increased worldwide demand for the testing of oral language proficiency. The computer delivered assessment emulates the ‘live’ OPI, but delivery of questions is through a carefully designed computer program, and via a virtual avatar. Thus, the test can be taken on demand, and at a time convenient to the candidate and proctor. The OPIc structure is based on one of three test forms:

  • Form 1 – targets proficiency levels Novice Low through Novice High, though any rating from Novice Low through Intermediate Low can be assigned to a sample that is elicited using Form 1.
  • Form 2 – targets proficiency levels Novice High through Intermediate Mid though any rating from Novice Low through Advanced can be assigned to a sample that is elicited using Form 2.
  • Form 3 – targets proficiency levels Intermediate Mid through Advanced, though any rating from Novice Low through Advanced can be assigned to a sample that is elicited using Form 3.

The OPI-c has not yet been approved as an official alternative to the standard ACTFL-OPI by the Flagship Assessment Group, a subset of Flagship Directors who are charged with assessment tasks. It is used by some programs internally as an additional tracking tool.