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OPI Certification Process Frequently Asked Questions

The following list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is updated a few times a year. The categories in which people tend to have questions include:


Certification Workshop Information

Q: Should I register for the Full Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Assessment Workshop or for the Modified Oral Proficiency Interview (MOPI) Assessment Workshop?

A: The Full OPI Assessment workshop is appropriate for all educators. If you primarily teach and test students at the Novice and Intermediate levels, the MOPI Workshop format can also meet your needs.

Q: Can I register for an ACTFL OPI or MOPI Workshop online? 

A: Yes. ACTFL offers a range of Summer Institute and Winter Institute workshops. You can find more information here.

Q: What is included in the workshop registration fee? 

A: The workshop registration fee includes workshop attendance, full participation in all workshop activities, and workshop materials. The fee does not include travel, housing or meal expenses nor does it include the certification application fee. 

Q: What form of payment does ACTFL accept for workshop registration fees? 

A: ACTFL accepts personal checks, institutional checks and purchase orders, VISA, and Mastercard.

Q: What should I do if no language-specific section is available in my language of specialization? 

A: You should register for the English/mixed languages section. The training is conducted in English. Participants are encouraged to apply the training to their specific languages and to seek certification in those languages.

Q: Is it necessary to be an ACTFL member in order to attend an OPI or MOPI Workshop? 

A: No, membership is not required for workshop attendance. However, reduced registration fees are available to ACTFL members. It is possible to become an ACTFL member and to register for a workshop at the reduced fee at the same time.

Q: My colleagues and I are unable to travel to attend an ACTFL sponsored workshop. Is it possible to hold an OPI or MOPI workshop at my institution?

A: Yes. ACTFL arranges on-site ACTFL workshops at individual schools. For more information, contact workshops@actfl.org

Q: What is the workshop format?

A: Attendees meet each day for large group presentations followed by language-specific break-out sections of ten participants with one trainer. The majority of the day is devoted to hands-on activities including: a) observation of demonstration interviews; b) rating practice; c) individual practice testing; and c) group and trainer critique and feedback.

Q: What are my options following the workshop? 

A. Following the workshop, participants can apply the skills learned during the "open rating practice" on the ACTFL Training Site www.actfltraining.org. Workshop participants who wish to pursue ACTFL OPI Tester Certification may also apply at this time.


Certification Requirements & Timelines

Q: What are the pre-requisites for certification? 

A: In order to apply to become an ACTFL OPI Tester, you must meet the following prerequisites:

  • Affiliation with an accredited academic institution as defined by ACTFL*
  • Possession of an undergraduate degree in a related field
  • Minimal proficiency level of Advanced-Mid for Limited Certification and a Superior for Full Certification in the language of training.

*An academic institution is an accredited school, college, or university where foreign languages are taught. The term affiliation with an academic institution is defined as a current faculty and/or staff member who is involved in the instruction or evaluation of language students. Private language companies that offer translation services or language testing do not qualify under ACTFL’s definition of an academic institution. Private for-profit companies also do not qualify.

Q: Who are the trainers?

A: ACTFL OPI trainers are highly qualified language faculty and educators who are nationally recognized experts in the area of oral proficiency assessment. OPI trainers are certified by ACTFL.

Q: How long does it take to become certified?

A: The maximum amount of time to complete certification is one calendar year from the completion of workshop training. There is no minimum amount of time required to complete the certification process. The sooner one completes all the requirements, the shorter the certification process.

Q: How long is ACTFL tester certification valid?

A: OPI Testers are certified for four years. At the end of this time, all Testers must recertify.

Q: What are some of the benefits of becoming an ACTFL certified OPI Tester?

A: ACTFL certified Testers are a critical resource to their institutions in the areas of language assessment, curriculum, and instructional practices. Certification as an ACTFL OPI Tester is recognition that an individual understands and can apply the principles and concepts of proficiency testing with consistency and reliability.

Certified ACTFL Testers are authorized to conduct OPIs and assign advisory ratings within their own academic institutions. They may also participate in the official ACTFL Testing Program through LTI, the ACTFL Testing Office.


The Personal OPI Requirement

Q: I’m sending you a link to my personal OPI results. Can you access it at the link LTI provided me? : https://tms.languagetesting.com/CandidateSite/individualTestTracker.aspx

A: No. Please note that ACTFL does not have access to your personal OPI result. The link will only work for you. Once the personal OPI test is completed, you will receive a message by email (as below example), with your own specific username and password in order to access the result.

Dear XXXX,
The rating for the language assessment you took on xx/xx/xx is now available.
Click on the link below to view the rating and print a certificate.
https://tms.languagetesting.com/CandidateSite
Username: xxxxx
Password: xxxxx
Thanks,
Language Testing International, Inc.
The ACTFL Testing Office
800-486-8444 extension 0
(Outside the US: 914-963-7110 extension 0)
languagetesting.com

Because the personal OPI link is specific to you, ACTFL does not have access to it. You are provided with a username and password from LTI which you can use to access the link. You should download your certificate and forward it to ACTFL via email.

Q: I did my personal interview a couple weeks ago, but I haven't got any feedback.

A: Please note that ACTFL does not have access to your results. See Question 1. If, however, you did not get an email from LTI, please write to them at support@languagetesting.com.

Q: I cannot access the ACTFL Training Site at actfltraining.com with the password that was provided to me when I was enrolled in the program. Help.

A: That is because the password that was provided to you at the time of enrollment was a temporary password. You are asked to change the password into a personal one and keep it somewhere safe. Failing to do so will cause delays.

Q: Here is my application form to schedule test with LTI. Please schedule it for me.

A: Sorry, we cannot do that on your behalf. You need to send it directly to LTI to support@languagetesting.com

Q: My personal OPI score is S (Superior). Can I now start testing?

A: You must complete your entire certification process (which takes a year) and obtain your certificate before you start testing.

Q: I would like to retest for the OPI to see if I can achieve ‘superior’. Am I supposed to pay $139 or $100? Could you please let me know what to do to continue?

A: ACTFL must approve the retest. Your personal OPI fee $100 is included in your tester certification fee ($350), therefore you do not need to pay for your personal OPI the first time you take it. However, if granted ACTFL’s approval for a retest, you are responsible for the $100 fees.


OPI Certification & Recertification Timelines

Q: I assumed that working with LTI would keep my certification valid.

A: Testing with LTI does not keep your certificate valid. A certification tends to be valid for 4 years and must be renewed with ACTFL.

Q: I already took an OPI test in 2009, can I still use it for my OPI certification?

A: Personal OPI results are valid for 2 years. Unfortunately, you cannot use a personal OPI that was done in 2009 for this certification program. To move ahead with your certification program, you need to schedule a new OPI test.

Q: I took a workshop three years ago and I signed up for the OPI certification process, but I never finished. I would like to resume now. How can I do that?

A: Unfortunately, you cannot. You have one year to complete your certification process. You will have to start from the beginning by attending a workshop and re-applying for OPI certification.

Q: I have signed up online for my OPI certification. I made the payment and sent in my Resume. It has been 2 weeks. I have not heard back from ACTFL. Have you received my payment? Is there something wrong?

A: We handle hundreds of applications every week so please be patient. Also, please note that you will not be responsible for any delays that is caused by us.


Certification Practice Round

Q: I am doing the official practice round now, but I cannot find a way to submit the grids for the evaluation. Would you be kind enough to let me know what I should do?

A: In the practice round, rating grids are not required. The rating grid sheet is provided to you for practice purposes only. You will need to use it at a later stage.

Q: Can I request an extension of the 45 days that is given to me at start of the practice round?

A: The 45-day deadline is only a suggestion. We do recommend that you stick to the timeline (below) so as not to face delays later in the process. Certification Process should be completed within 1 year from workshop. Trainees may progress through Certification activities faster than suggested timeline provided below:

  1. Complete OPI or Modified OPI (MOPI) Assessment training workshop
  2. Apply for OPI Tester Certification within 30 days of completing workshop
  3. Complete Personal OPI and Rating Activity within 45 days of notification that application has been processed
  4. Complete Guided Interviews within 45 days of passing Rating Activity
  5. Conduct and submit Independent Interviews within 75 days of completing Guided Interviews. Trainee will receive Feedback on interviews within additional 60 days.
  6. Conduct and submit Certification Interviews within 60 days of completing Independent Interviews. Results of Evaluation will be returned to Trainee within 45 additional days.

OPI appointments with Language Testing International (LTI)

Q: I sent an application to Language Testing (LTI) to schedule a test. I have not heard from them. It has been 2 weeks. What should I do?

A: LTI gets in touch with you 5 days prior to the test date. Please be patient. Otherwise send them a reminder at support@languagetesting.com


The ACTFL Tester Training Sites

Q: I just tried to login to the ACTFL tester training website with my login details, but after several tries, I still couldn’t log in?

A: Because you completed the Rating Activity, your online training account to access the Practice Round and the Certification Round has closed. You may still at any time, however, listen to and rate the sample OPIs on www.actfltraining.org using the login information below:

Login: actflrater
Password: training
(be sure to select the ‘ACTFL’ radio button bubble when logging in)

Q: I have prepared my interview recordings with OPI Rating grids and Certification Interviews Submission Form. Can you please send me the instructions on how to email the materials?

A: Instructions are sent to you in the enrollment email and are available below:

Please follow these steps accurately. (These instructions apply to the independent, certification and extra rounds)

  1. Sign up for the ACTFL OPI Certification Program Learning Management System by clicking on the link. https://www.pathlms.com/actfl-card/sign_up
  2. Click on the ACTFL OPI Certification Program. (It is half way down the page under Courses)
  3. Click on the section in the course that applies to you, for example:
    Phase 3 - Language of Certification
    Phase 4 – Language of Certification
  4. Once inside the section, you can submit your Interviews. All files need to be in a ZIP file. (see below for further information)
  5. To make your submissions:
    1. Click on the assignment (see example below)
    2. Under Add your answer, browse for the ZIP folder you created and add it to your assignment. Please SEE next page for instructions on NAMING requirement and CREATING a ZIP folder on Windows and MAC OS X.
    3. IF you a make a mistake in the file you selected to upload, do NOT hit submit. Refresh the page and then you can select a different file.
    4. IF you submit without putting all your files in the ZIP folder, email your assigned trainer for further instructions.
    5. Add any comments for the reviewer in the comment box.
    6. Click on Submit Assignment.

Making a ZIP file on Windows Operating System:

  1. Create a folder and place all your files you need to submit inside of this folder. Name the folder with your LAST NAME-FIRST NAME. Files inside the folder will follow the following format: Tester Last Name. Interview Date. Interviewee First Name & Last Initial. Rating 
    Example: SMITH.1Jan99.AngelaA.NH
  2. Right click on the folder. Hover your cursor over the “Send to” option. This will open a new submenu. Select “Compressed (zipped) folder”.
  3. Wait for the folder to be created. If you are adding a lot of files to the new ZIP file, it may take a few moments to create it. A progress bar will appear as files are added. Once the process is complete, the ZIP file will appear in the same location as the original folder.

Making a ZIP file on a MAC OS X:

  1. Create a folder and place all your files you need to submit inside of this folder. Name the folder with tester (your) LAST NAME-FIRST NAME. Files inside the folder will follow the following format: Tester Last Name. Interview Date. Interviewee First Name & Last Initial. Rating 
    Example: SMITH.1Jan99.AngelaA.NH
  2. Right click on the folder. OR Hold down Control (CTRL) and click if you are using a single button mouse. Click the “Compress” option. The folder will be compressed into a ZIP file. The new ZIP file will be in the same location as the folder that you compressed.