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Language Assessments


Students in French and Italian complete language assessments as they graduate. The French and Italian department is going to use the LASER and the OPIc in our 321 courses, and then again when these students graduate (or get a French or Italian minor, or the language certificate in either language) as a way to gauge their progress within their language.

  • French assessments include the official ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPIc) and Writing Proficiency Test (WPT), and BYU-administered Adaptive Reading Test (ART) and Listening comprehension test.
  • Italian assessments include the official ACTFL OPI and WPT.
OPI
The OPI assesses language proficiency in terms of a speaker’s ability to use the language effectively and appropriately in real-life situations, in a spontaneous and non-rehearsed context, regardless of when, where, why, or how a speaker has acquired their language. The OPI measures the full range of proficiency on the ACTFL scale, from Novice to Superior.
    • Increase your exposure to authentic input (reading, listening, viewing);
    • Speak as much as you can, with classmates, friends, native speakers;
    • Practice having conversations over the phone, since your official OPI will be a telephonic interview;
    • Focus on the functions you are targeting for full control, such as narration in the past, or supported opinion;
    • Expand the range of topics you can talk about;
    • Force yourself to elaborate;
    • Practice, practice, practice!

    Students in French 321 and 322 are required to attend the speaking lab several times throughout the semester. This lab can be extremely helpful in improving your speaking skills and preparing for the OPI. You work one-on-one with the lab assistant on areas that you select. For example, you can read short stories and have the lab assistant correct your pronunciation, or you could do a mock interview.

    ACTFL has speaking samples on their website here. You can learn more about preparing for the OPI here.

  • Sign up for the OPI by filling out this Google Form. The Center for Language Studies asks that you request two separate dates for which you are available to take the OPI. You can take the OPI Monday-Friday between 8am-4pm.

    Do not request dates on state, federal, or university holidays, on Saturday or Sunday, or during the devotional.

    The OPI only takes 25-35 minutes. It is a verbal conversation, completed in a private office over a telephone. You will receive an email from the CLS office once your OPI has been scheduled, confirming the date and time of your OPI. Go to 1141 JFSB for your appointment.

  • The ACTFL Rating Scale encompasses four major levels. You can learn more about these levels and the criteria associated with them in the OPI Familiarization Guide.

OPIc
The OPIc is an internet delivered test which provides valid and reliable oral proficiency testing. The computer delivered assessment emulates the ‘live’ OPI, but delivery of prompts is through a carefully designed computer program, and via a virtual avatar, Ava, the OPIc “Tester.” This format allows the test to be taken on demand, and at a time convenient to the candidate and proctor. The OPIc measures the full range of proficiency on the ACTFL scale, from Novice to Superior.
    • Increase your exposure to authentic input (reading, listening, viewing);
    • Speak as much as you can, with classmates, friends, native speakers;
    • Focus on the functions you are targeting for full control, such as narration in the past, or supported opinion;
    • Force yourself to elaborate;
    • Practice, practice, practice!

    Students in French 321 and 322 are required to attend the speaking lab several times throughout the semester. This lab can be extremely helpful in improving your speaking skills and preparing for the OPI. You work one-on-one with the lab assistant on areas that you select. For example, you can read short stories and have the lab assistant correct your pronunciation, or you could do a mock interview.

  • The ACTFL Rating Scale encompasses four major levels. You can learn more about these levels and the criteria associated with them in the OPIc Familiarization Guide.

WPT
The ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) is a web-based, proctored, standardized test of the global assessment of functional writing ability in a language. The WPT measures how well a person spontaneously writes in a language (without access to revisions and/or editing tools).
    • Write as much as you can in the target language, practicing the functions that you will need to demonstrate during the test (i.e., recounting experiences, giving full descriptions, stating and supporting opinions, etc.);
    • Focus your writing practice on communicating naturally in the language, focusing on the message rather than the language forms;
    • Practice, practice, practice!

    Getting feedback in our writing lab can help you improve your writing and prepare for the WPT. Our upper-level courses include many written assignments and essays. It is recommended that students use the writing lab to receive feedback on their drafts before submitting final papers.

  • To sign up for a specific time to complete the WPT, go to this website. You can also go to the Humanities Testing Lab (B153 JFSB) as a "walk-in" without making an appointment.

    You will have up to 80 minutes to complete the WPT. It consists of four writing sample responses, which will be completed on a computer. Go to B153 JFSB for your WPT appointment.

  • The ACTFL Rating Scale encompasses four major levels. You can learn more about these levels and the criteria associated with them in the WPT Familiarization Guide.

  • The description of each major level is representative of a specific range of abilities. The written descriptions of writing proficiency are accompanied by writing samples illustrating the features of each major level on ACTFL's website.

ART
The Adaptive Reading Test (ART) is a BYU-created assessment that is administered to students in their target language. This test aims to measure a student’s reading proficiency in the target language.
  • Graduating majors are required to take the ART as part of Fren 495, the senior capstone. Some 321-322 instructors require the ART in their section; instructors will direct you on how and when to complete it.

  • The ART is taken in the Humanities Testing Lab, B153 of the JFSB. You can go to the lab as a "walk-in" to take the ART. This test will be completed on a computer, and you have up to 60 minutes to complete it.

    Contact the Center for Language Studies if you have further questions.

    cls@byu.edu
    801-422-1201

  • To take a demo reading test go here. Click on "I would like to try a practice test", then select English Reading. Put in your information, and then you can take a demo test in English to see what the ART will be like.

ALT
The Adaptive Listening Test (ALT) is a BYU-created assessment that is administered to students in their target language. This test aims to measure a student’s listening proficiency in the target language.
  • Graduating majors are required to take the ALT as part of Fren 495, the senior capstone. Some 321-322 instructors require the ALT in their section; instructors will direct you on how and when to complete it.

  • The ALT is taken in the Humanities Testing Lab, B153 of the JFSB. You can go to the lab as a "walk-in" to take the ALT. This test will be completed on a computer, and you have up to 60 minutes to complete it.

    Contact the Center for Language Studies if you have further questions.

    cls@byu.edu
    801-422-1201

  • To take a demo listening test go here. Click on "I would like to try a practice test", then select English Listening. Put in your information, and then you can take a demo test in English to see what the ALT will be like.

LASER
The Language Self-Evaluation Resource (LASER) is an indicator of general language proficiency. It can be completed at any time using a computer with a stable internet connection, and it takes about an hour to complete. It is designed to help BYU students:

  • Select the appropriate language course for their ability*
  • Verify that they are in the correct class
  • provide information to the instructor to inform curricular decisions
  • Help them become life-long language learners as they improve their ability to self-assess and self-reflect on their language proficiency.

*If you are taking the LASER to choose the correct language course, the course recommendation provided is just that: a recommendation. Students should consult with their language department concerning any questions about their results. 
  • Part 1: Self Evaluation Module (30 to 40 minutes)
    Part 2: Productive Language Samples Module (20 to 50 minutes)

  • Do you have questions about what class to start with? Learn more about recommended courses here.