ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages

AAPPL logo header

The ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) is a web-based proficiency and performance assessment of K-12 standards-based language learning. It assesses language ability across the three modes of communication as defined by the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. Tasks on the AAPPL are often situated within the context of today’s communication media. For example, test takers perform tasks such as answering questions posed by a video chat partner, reading social media posts, and e-mailing a pen pal to demonstrate language ability.

The AAPPL tasks are informed by the functions described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and ratings are assigned according to the ACTFL Performance Descriptors for Language Learners. Score reports identify a proficiency range along with pinpointing a narrower performance score for each of the test components.


AAPPL is available in Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Modes of Communication

AAPPL places the value of communication front and center, assessing language performance and proficiency via the three modes of communication as described in the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. The AAPPL assesses:

  • Interpersonal Listening & Speaking (ILS)
  • Presentational Writing (PW)
  • Interpretive Reading (IR) and Interpretive Listening (IL)

Tasks and Topics

ACTFL's Assessment of Performance towards Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) brings the 5 C's of the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages into a modern proficiency and performance assessment environment. To that end, learners are presented with a series of tasks in each mode of communication. These tasks are informed by the functions described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. The topics are age-appropriate and relevant to learners.

To facilitate curriculum planning, ACTFL provides a comprehensive list of topics associated with each mode of communication addressed in the test.

Test Forms

The AAPPL is typically appropriate for Grades 3 – 12. When ordering the AAPPL, the selection of test forms should be based on two criteria: grade level of learners and proficiency target for the course. Form A targets the Novice and Intermediate proficiency ranges. Form B targets the Intermediate proficiency range up to Advanced Low. Form E is designed for learners in elementary school, Grades 3-4, and targets the Novice and Intermediate proficiency ranges. The forms are organized as follows:

AAPPL Grades
*Note: Form E consists solely of the Interpersonal Listening and Speaking (ILS) section.

Scores and Reporting

One of the goals of the AAPPL is to provide as much useful information to the test takers, instructors, parents, and other stakeholders as possible. Through LTI, ACTFL’s exclusive licensee, we offer a variety of score reports to monitor learners’ growth and track progress toward district-, program- or school-wide goals for proficiency and performance. Learn more about AAPPL Scores and Reporting.


Before taking the AAPPL, learners are encouraged to visit the AAPPL Tips page, where they can watch three short video about the different components of the AAPPL. In the videos, there are tips on how to perform one's best. It is also recommended that learners practice with a demo AAPPL in their language, which can be found here.

Validity and Reliability

AAPPL's original design and test framework were based on the 2006 ACTFL Assessment of Uses and Needs, a survey of over 1,600 world language instructors and administrators regarding the assessments they used and the kinds of assessments they needed. Based on rigorous piloting and field testing and follow-on studies conducted for nearly a decade, the AAPPL represents effective practices in world language assessment.

Analyses of 9,000 test takers demonstrate that the AAPPL can reliably differentiate examinee results according to different levels as described by the AAPPL performance scores. In addition, item difficulty parameters reflect the targeted proficiency levels.

Cox and Malone (2018) further document AAPPL rater reliability and articulate a validity argument using evidence from over 10,000 test results. For a more detailed discussion of AAPPL validity and reliability, refer to:

Cox, T.L., & Malone, M.E. (2018). A validity argument to support the ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward proficiency. Foreign Language Annals, 51 (3), 548-574. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12353.