You might consider taking these exams for your own personal use in gauging your level. There are many sources for language proficiency standards assessment. The following provide widely recognized and reputable standards:
- ACTFL OPI (Proficiency in 48 languages)
- DLPT: Defense Language Proficiency Test (exams for military positions)
- Goethe Institute (German proficiency)
- JLPT (Japanese Proficiency)
- SOPI (Spanish Proficiency)
ACTFL offers oral proficiency testing in more than 65 languages and writing proficiency testing in 12 languages. The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). ACTFL also provides testing support for the U.S. Department of Defense. The ACTFL OPI and the Writing Proficiency Test are recognized by a number of state certification boards for teacher licensure.
ACTFL currently offers a number of options for assessing speaking (interpersonal) and writing (presentational). ACTFL assessments determine functional language ability as described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. ACTFL proficiency tests are currently being used worldwide by academic institutions, government agencies, and private corporations for purposes such as: academic placement, student assessment, program evaluation, professional certification, hiring, and promotional qualification. Teacher certification boards in some states require evidence of spoken and written language competency as demonstrated through official ACTFL ratings. More than 12,000 ACTFL tests are conducted yearly through the ACTFL Testing Program.
ACTFL Assessment testing options range from Oral Proficiency Interviews to the Advanced Level Check which is a functional test that determines whether the candidate meets minimum requirements for rating. They also offer the Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) which encompasses specific writing tasks. There are currently 10 ACTFL language proficiency ratings that range from Novice Low to Superior. If you are asked by a potential employer to take any of the ACTFL Language Proficiency Exams, you should consult their site for suggestions on preparing, and also consult your language department advisor.
For more information on ACTFL Testing or to schedule an ACTFL Proficiency Test, contact: Language Testing International.
Visit American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages for further information about the ACTFL Guidelines.
DLPT (Defense Language Proficiency Test)
There are several jobs in the military which require fluency in a foreign language. The Department of Defense and many other military divisions use tests to determine eligibility.
The Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT). This test is designed for individuals who are already fluent in a specific foreign language needed by the military. Quite simply, it tests the individual's current knowledge of a specific language. The test results in a language proficiency rating of 0, 0+ 1, 1+, 2, 2+, or 3, with three being the highest. The version of the test commonly given at locations other than the Defense Language Institute, measures only reading and listening ability.
Many posted positions with a division of the military require a rating of 3/3, or 3 on the reading portion and 3 on the listening. (Speaking also requires a score of 3 if administered)
The newest version of the DLPT (version V) measures language ability on a scale of 0 through 5+, but it will be a few years before this version is available for all tested languages.
Adapted from: http://www.dliflc.edu/resources/dlpt-guides/
Goethe Institute (German proficiency)
The Goethe Institute provides internationally accredited language testing to determine proficiency level in German in business, professional and general categories. Exam Centers are located at many universities worldwide. Goethe also offer customized courses for exam preparation.
Visit the Goethe Instutute for information about their examinations.
JLPT (Japanese proficiency)
As the number of people studying Japanese is rapidly increasing worldwide, so are the opportunities to put their skills to use in a wide variety of careers. This has led to the demand among the students of Japanese for the establishment of a venue by which their language proficiency can be certified. The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test is conducted both in Japan and outside Japan to evaluate and certify the language proficiency of primarily non-native speakers of Japanese.The test is administered by Japan Education Exchanges and Services inside Japan, and by the Japan Foundation outside Japan. The test has four different levels; the examinee can choose the level that best matches his or her ability and training. Each test is made up of three sections: writing-vocabulary; listening; reading-grammar.
For further information about the Japanese JLPT exams, visit the corresponding Japanese website (in japanese).
SOPI (Spanish proficiency)
The Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI) is a type of tape-mediated test of speaking proficiency. All SOPI items are based on the speaking proficiency guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The test is presented to examinees via a test booklet and a master tape. It can be administered individually by anyone using two tape recorders. It can also be used in a language laboratory setting to test groups.
Professional test developers at the Center for Applied Linguistics, working with leaders in the field of foreign language education, have carefully designed the SOPIs to elicit a representative performance sample of an examinee's speech in a short period of time. The test is intended for students at proficiency levels from Novice-High to Superior.
For further information about the Spanish SOPI exams, visit this site.