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ACTFL and Bureau for International Language Coordination Partner To Develop Standardized English Language Test for NATO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Steve Ackley
703-894-2900

March 15, 2007, Alexandria, VA — The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), in partnership with the Board of International Language Coordination (BILC), has been awarded a multi-year contract to develop a NATO-sponsored standardized English Language Testing Program.  The goal of this program, which is to be funded by NATO, is to provide feedback to NATO nations on the English abilities of their tested personnel and improve commensurability across national language testing programs.

  
As part of a NATO reorganization in 2003, the office of Supreme Allied Commander, for Transformation (SACT) was charged with being NATO’s “agent for change [and] leading the continuous improvement of Alliance capabilities to uphold NATO’s global security interests.”  As part of those efforts the NATO Training Group Joint Services Sub-Group (NTG JSSSG) recommended that a NATO sponsored standardized English Language Testing Program be developed to help achieve commensurability across national language testing programs — and the HQ SACT Joint Education and Training contract with the ACTFL/BILC consortium was awarded in response to that recommendation.  Under this contract, the consortium will develop computer-delivered benchmark examinations for Reading, Listening, and Speaking & Writing skills based on the parameters proscribed in NATO’s language proficiency standards, known as STANAG 6001.   

Once these benchmark tests are in place, each nation would then use the “Advisory Ratings” generated by the ACTFL/BILC tests to check on the calibration of their own tests.  For instance, a nation might want to test a sample of their personnel who were rated as Level 3 by their national tests, to see how well they would perform on an independent measure of language proficiency.

The test design framework for the ACTFL/BILC tests and skill specific exemplars will be presented at the 2007 BILC Conference, which will be held this year in San Antonio, TX.

ACTFL membership includes more than 9,000 language professionals from all levels of education and representing all languages.  The association provides these members with a wide variety of professional development opportunities, including training and certification programs.  All members receive the association’s two publications, the Foreign Language Annals scholarly journal and The Language Educator magazine.

For more information concerning the NATO project, contact ACTFL at testing@actfl.org.

 

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Date: 
Thursday, March 15, 2007