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Thank you for inquiring about the Oral Proficiency Interview. The Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is a structured procedure for the assessment of functional speaking ability and was developed through work initiated by the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. government over 40 years ago and the subsequent contributions of The Peace Corps, Educational Testing Service and the cooperative efforts of academic institutions from around the United States. See Bibliography note below or contact: (http://www.actfl.org/)
Why should I take an OPI?
The OPI is a prestigious, nationally recognized assessment and the teachers who administers it have been trained and certified by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). This instrument assures reliability in assessing oral proficiency and it measures patterns of strengths and weaknesses, establishing a speaker's level of consistent functional ability as well as the clear upper limitations that ability. The OPI assesses language performance in terms of ability to use the language effectively and appropriately in real life situations. The assessment is used in granting credit for high school graduation of college entrance requirements, a tool for class level placement or obtaining employment. The test will be given by a professional trained and certified to give oral proficiency testing.
What is the OPI?
Characteristics of a functional performance assessment (An OPI):
- It cannot be prepared as can a test that measures specific information of a course.
- It does measure what a student can do with the language.
- It is given in a conversational / interview format.
- It may require a student to ask questions
- It may require student to describe and compare.
- It may include a role-play.
- It is taped in order to assess an accurate rating.
How is credit awarded?
In order to receive credit for an oral proficiency assessment the speaker must perform at the intermediate level and...
Oral assessments can be part of the class grade and assessed as points of documentation can be awarded on a pass/no pass basis. Please see your individual instructor for information on how the OPI is used in determining your grade. The grade can reflect three selections; In progress (1, 2, or 3) = Novice levels ability; no credit for oral proficiency will be awarded. Meets (4) = Intermediate levels; credit awarded. Superior (5) = Advanced or Superior levels, exceeds the district and state requirement (1997-1998) for functional communicative level.
- Maintain a face-to-face conversation over a range of familiar topics such as:
- family and friends
- home, school and leisure time activities
- school, classes, sports
- town, neighborhood and services
- travel and survival situations
- Can create with the language using learned and memorized material.
- Can describe and compare.
- Can explain and provide detail.
- Ask and answer simple questions.
- Speak in sentences and errors not interfere with comprehension.
- Can use an appropriate strategy in order to communicate.
- Does not use English as a substitute for an unknown word.
How does one prepare for the oral proficiency interview?
The responses or questions of the interviewee reflect:
Student motivation to be active during class time is extremely important. Orally repeat and practice all classroom grammar patterns, vocabulary and sentences. Outside of class orally review vocabulary and verb reference sheets.
- individual background
- life experiences
Practice conversations and conversation materials whenever possible. Review all chapters in the textbook. Become reacquainted with correct grammar patterns and expressions.
Schedule appointments with your teacher to informally practice conversational language.
Make an appointment to be interviewed and expect the test to take about 20-25 minutes. It is normal to feel nervous. Be prepared for a conversation and demonstrate what you can do with the language.
Please call if you have any questions. The Foreign Language Department at West Albany High wishes you well.
Phone: (541) 967-4545
Buck, Kathryn et. al. The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview. Tester Training Manual.
Yonkers, New York: The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 1999.