Spanish Oral Proficiency

Students enrolled in the Spanish major or minor at NC State have the opportunity to take an oral proficiency test based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Scale. ACTFL will issue an official certificate listing the student's proficiency level. Please contact Dr. Mark Darhower if you have any questions about the test.

Frequently Asked Questions about ACTFL and the Spanish Oral Proficiency Interview

ACTFL, since its conception in 1967, is an internationally recognized authority on language teaching and learning. After years of research ACTFL developed the Oral Proficiency Scale to serve as a common measure of an individual's functional ability in a given language. The individual's OP level is determined via a structured interview, called an "OPI", which may be in person or on the phone. The interviewer and interview raters are certified ACTFL testers in the language. The levels of the OP Scale are Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Superior. See the ACTFL OP Guidelines for a complete description of the OP levels.

ACTFL recommends that an individual who wishes to live or work in a Spanish speaking country or with Spanish speaking populations achieve at least the Advanced Low level.

There is no specific way to prepare for the OP test since it is a global measure of oral proficiency in Spanish. Students should work hard in all of their Spanish classes and regularly seek opportunities outside of class to practice the language on their own. (See, for example, our Tools and Resources and Spanish in the Community web pages.) Students could review grammar rules and vocabulary lists in hopes that this will help them on the exam. But these review activities, although potentially helpful, are no substitute for extensive practice engaging in oral and written communication in the language. Such extensive practice is really the only way one can prepare for the OP test.