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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Measuring Proficiency

ACTFL outlines a list of skills that determines each proficiency level. The major levels are:

  • Novice: The robot. Can answer and ask simple questions with one-word phrases or strings of memorized rote phrases.
  • Intermediate: The survivalist. Can initiate and sustain a simple conversation with simple sentences in the present time frame.
  • Advanced: The story-teller. Is able to narrate and describe across different time frames (present, past, and furure).
  • Superior: The debater. Can state and support an opinion abstractly and can predict hypothetical outcomes.

Note: While courses at USC are proficiency-oriented, it is important to recognize that the guidelines used to measure proficiency do not correspond to a specific course level or grade.

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