Oral & Written Language Proficiency Testing

We administer Spoken and Written proficiency tests on behalf of ALTA Language Services.  The Spoken test is taken over the phone with a trained evaluator and lasts up to 30 minutes. The Written test is composed of 5 short essay questions that the candidate has up to 60 minutes to complete — for more information, including a list of languages available for testing, please see ALTA’s website at www.altalang.com. Whether the candidate needs to take the spoken test, written test, or both is up to the institution for which he is testing. We only administer the tests. We cannot guarantee which test or grades will be required by your school. Please confirm these details before scheduling tests.

To schedule the test, which would be held here at TLC, we will need you to contact us and provide two different time and day options that you will be available in order of preference. You will need to include the language and dialect you would like to be tested in when scheduling the exam. We administer tests Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays between 9:30am and 2:00pm. It usually takes 4-5 days to schedule the test, so the dates should be requested a week or more in advance. We will then submit those times and days and wait for ALTA to respond. As soon as they have let us know when the test has been scheduled, we will then let you know when you can come in for the test.

No cancellations are permitted within 24 business hours before the test. If you require a test to be scheduled within 48 hours of the test time, then you are not able to cancel without paying a “no-show” fee of $60.

The cost of each test is $100. The fee is payable by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, check or cash on the day of the test. We encourage candidates to arrive at least 15 minutes in advance of the test time and bring a photo ID. You will check in with the security guard and we will have your name on a list of expected visitors.  If he or she is late for a test (even 5 minutes), he will be charged a “no-show” fee of $60.  We encourage all candidates to get here at least 15 minutes early.

Below are the grading rubrics for the test.

Speaking and Listening Performance Levels

SKILL LEVEL DESCRIPTION
TOTAL BEGINNER 1 The candidate has no knowledge of the language whatsoever.
BEGINNER 2 The candidate can communicate in a simple way in specific situations such as ordering food, asking directions and expressing basic needs.
3
+ 4
INTERMEDIATE 5 The candidate can handle successfully a limited number of interactive, task-oriented social and business activities.
6
+ 7
ADVANCED 8 The candidate can handle successfully a variety of communicative tasks feeling comfortable enough to conduct business meetings, converse effectively on the telephone, present a new idea and discuss details.
9
+ 10
NEARLY FLUENT 11 The candidate can initiate and sustain a wide variety of communicative tasks with finesse.
FLUENT 12 The candidate speaks at the level of a native speaker.

 

 

Identification of the Assessment Categories

The ALTA evaluation process assesses the level of skill in two areas: comprehension and speaking. These two categories are subdivided as shown below:

Comprehension

  • SCOPE: How wide is the candidate’s range of comprehension?
  • SPEED: What speed of talking by a native speaker can  the candidate understand?
  • STRUCTURE: What complexity of speech can  the candidate understand?

Speaking

  • ACCENT: What degree of non-native accent and pronunciation does  the candidate have?
  • SCOPE: How easily can  the candidate express ideas?
  • SPEED: How rapidly can  the candidate speak and how much does  the candidate hesitate?
  • NOUNS: How well does  the candidate use proper gender and cases (where applicable)?
  • STRUCTURE: How well does  the candidate use complex structures?
  • VERBS: How well does  the candidate use correct conjugations, subject-verb agreement, mood and voice?
  • VOCABULARY: How wide is  the candidate’s range of vocabulary and how precise?

The questions following each subdivision identify in practical terms what each subdivision means. In total the subdivisions identify the range of capability needed to comprehend or speak a language.

Writing Performance Levels

SKILL LEVEL DESCRIPTION
TOTAL BEGINNER 1 The candidate has no knowledge of the language whatsoever.
BEGINNER 2 The candidate can communicate in a simple way in specific situations but makes many grammatical and spelling (or character) errors.
3
+ 4
INTERMEDIATE 5 The candidate can handle successfully a limited number of task-oriented social and business communications, but does not use advanced tenses, makes some spelling (or character) errors and has limited advanced vocabulary.
6
+ 7
ADVANCED 8 The candidate can handle successfully a variety of communicative tasks feeling comfortable enough to write business letters using advanced tenses, but still makes a few grammatical and spelling (or character) errors with some imprecision in vocabulary usage.
9
+ 10
NEARLY FLUENT 11 The candidate can initiate and sustain a wide variety of communicative tasks with finesse, but makes occasional spelling (or character) errors and minor grammatical errors.
FLUENT 12 The candidate writes at the level of a native speaker.