National Standards-5 C's and ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines


The world languages standard are benchmarked by proficiency levels, rather than grade levels. The development of these proficiency levels was informed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners (ACTFL, 1998), the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines—Speaking (ACTFL, 1999), and the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines—Writing (ACTFL, 2001).

The levels are summarily reflected in the following these proficiency statements samples:
  • Novice-Low Range: Students communicate using isolated words and some high-frequency phrases with very limited communicative ability.
  • Novice-Mid Range: Students communicate using memorized words and phrases to talk about familiar topics related to school, home, and the community. Students are able to speak and write using short sentences that contain learned words and phrases. They are able to understand the target language when it is spoken in short, simple phrases and sentences and contain many cognates and memorized phrases and words.. They are able to read very brief texts with comprehension based on basic common themes such as family, school, activities, etc. . Comprehension is further enhanced when the spoken language and written text are supported by visual cues and gestures.
  • Novice-High Range: Students communicate using words, lists, and simple sentences to ask and answer questions, to handle simple transactions related to everyday life, and to talk about subject matter studied in other classes. Students are able to speak and write using short sentences that contain learned words and phrases. They are able to understand the target language when it is spoken in short, simple phrases and sentences. They are able to read brief texts with comprehension. Comprehension is further enhanced when the spoken language and written text are supported by visual cues and gestures.
  • Intermediate-Low Range: Students communicate using simple sentences to ask and answer questions, to handle simple transactions related to everyday life, and to talk about subject matter studied in other classes. Students are able to participate in simple conversational situations using sentences and groups of sentences. They can create with the target language by combining and recombining learned phrases and words. They can write simple messages, read authentic texts dealing with familiar topics, and understand the main ideas when listening to conversations dealing with familiar topics or themes. At this range is when students begin to autonomously create with the target language for the first time.
  • Intermediate-Mid Range: Students communicate using strings of sentences to ask and answer questions, to handle simple transactions related to everyday life, and to talk about subject matter studied in other classes. Students can initiate and sustain conversations by making statements, asking questions, and giving appropriate responses. They can communicate using appropriate time frames on everyday topics both orally and in writing. Students are able to compose cohesive paragraphs related to familiar topics and personal experiences. They are able to understand the main ideas and significant details in extended discussions and presentations, both live and recorded. They are able to acquire new knowledge and information from authentic texts including short literary texts and media.

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