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The ACTFL Latin Interpretive Reading Assessment (ALIRA)

ALIRA was created through a collaborative effort between The American Classical League and ACTFL. It is a first-of-its kind assessment that is based on both the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning and the Standards for Classical Language Learning.  It is a four-option, multiple choice, computer-adaptive assessment that can be delivered in a single class period.  For more information, consult the FAQs.

To request more information about ALIRA registration, contact LTI at

A Performance Assessment of Interpretive Reading

The goal of ALIRA is to assess Interpretive Reading in Latin. ALIRA uses a wide variety of texts including shorter and longer texts from ancient Rome, authentic historical documents, and modern texts from today’s classical studies community.

ALIRA provides a performance rating within the Novice and Intermediate ranges.  There are four gradations of Novice performance and five gradations of Intermediate performance.  They are designated N-1 to N-4 and I-1 to I-5.  The score reports provide an explanation of each score. 

Latin is alive and around us

The message of ALIRA is simple: Latin is alive and all around us.  ALIRA reflects this sentiment through the wide variety of texts that it uses—from antiquity to 21st Century social media.  Below is a description of some of the texts, topics, and items at each level.

Supporting pictures:  Test takers read excerpts from stories typical of those that appear in Latin textbooks and select the image from Ancient Rome that supports the excerpt.
Lists:  Lists of tasks, chores, rules or other items text from today’s Latin classroom as well as those from Ancient Rome.  Test takers identify a main idea.

Video game texts:  Test takers read dialogues from video games set in ancient Rome.
Short classical texts:  These are short texts that appeared in ancient Rome.
Short modern texts:  These are texts that come from today’s online Latin sources such as youtube comments made in Latin or Wikipedia.
Dialogues:  These are written dialogues excerpted from a play.

Longer ancient texts:  These are longer, more complex texts that were written by the great authors and poets of ancient Rome.
Longer modern texts:  These are longer, more complex texts that appear in today’s online sources.

Professional Development

In addition to ALIRA, ACTFL and ACL are offering an online, self-study course called Classics in the 21st Century Classroom.  Upon completion teachers may claim continuing education credit by notifying ACL.  The course is divided into five parts and takes an in-depth look at Standards, Communication Modes, Proficiency and Performance, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and text-task alignment.  Use your ACTFL Online account to purchase the online course through the ACTFL Online Store. If you don't have an account, register at It's free and you don't need to be an ACTFL member.


The ALIRA has been well received by Classics Departments throughout the country and the number of test takers has increased nearly tenfold over the two-year period that it has been administered.  These test results have provided ACTFL’s test developers an opportunity to conduct a post administration analysis of the functionality of the test designs and items.  Reviews confirmed the validity of the test design and the functionality of the items for determining ACTFL performance scores in Latin Interpretive Reading. A full IRT analysis of all of the items is being conducted for dissemination in Fall 2014.
For the spring 2015 administration ACTFL is planning enhancements to improve the user experience and make the test more robust.  These include:

  • new texts and items
  • scores that report as high as the Advanced level
  • more data points within each major levels.