Making proficiency comprehensible to students

Two year ago, while discussing ways to explain proficiency to students, I encountered a problem. Teachers suggested showing the ACTFL standards and Can-Do statements to students, but I found ACTFL’s language to be esoteric and the Can-Do’s to feel irrelevant to my 4th-8th grade students.

In response, I put together a Google Doc that aimed to make proficiency sublevels easy for kids to grasp. I looked for ways to simplify language, make it concrete when possible, and I came up with fun monikers for each Novice and Intermediate sublevel.

I shared this out in a Facebook group back in 2015 asking for feedback, but within a couple of days it was being posted on the FB pages of state language education boards across the country. Oops! Didn’t think it was quite ready for that kind of distribution. Twice in the past year at workshops, presenters have mentioned this document, acknowledging that they used it but had no idea where it came from.

So, here it is, in updated form, peer-reviewed, and actually attached to a name and source. Feel free to use it when teaching proficiency to students, to post in your classroom, or like Acton-Boxborough HS in MA, use as your department’s Halloween costume theme 🙂

ACTFL student-friendly proficiency levels printouts (1)

5 thoughts on “Making proficiency comprehensible to students

      1. I’m sure it did.
        Say, one of my goals for this year is to explain proficiency to my heritage sts. Want me to come up with some more for Advanced-Low/-Mid/-High and Superior? Or has anyone else worked on that since your original release here?


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