ACTFL Reading Proficiency Test (RPT)

RPT logo header

The ACTFL Reading Proficiency Test (RPT) is a proctored, online, proficiency-based test for the global assessment of reading ability in a language. It is an assessment of the Interpretive mode of communication as described in the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. The ACTFL RPT measures how well a person understands written language - as described in the ACTFL Proficiency Scale or Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) without access to dictionaries, reference grammars, or other language resources.

The RPT assesses general language proficiency, not what is learned in a specific program, class, school, or university. It is not tied to a particular teaching method or curriculum. Rather than assessing what a person “knows” about the language, the RPT is an assessment of how well a person can understand the written language.


The ACTFL RPT is currently available in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

The RPT Format

The RPT is developed in partnership with the Institute for Test Research and Test Development (ITT). The test presents between 10 to 25 reading texts written in the target language being assessed. Reading texts vary in genre, content, length, and complexity depending on the level being assessed. Each text is followed by three multiple choice questions, written in the target language. A demo test is available online.

Sample reading texts with rationales for their proficiency levels are available in the RPT Familiarization Guide, and are available in the online ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines - Reading in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (simplified), English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Get recognized for your language skill

Secure, authenticated, Credly digital badges are issued to students in higher education institutions and adults who complete a qualifying ACTFL assessment. Digital badges can be used to enhance online profiles, resume, email signatures, and to provide evidence of language proficiency to academic institutions or employers.

Which assessments qualify?

Proficiency Ranges

The ACTFL RPT assesses Interpretive Reading in the target language across the full range of ACTFL Proficiency levels, from Novice to Superior on eight different test forms. A description of the different test forms and their administration time is below.

Refer to the RPT Familiarization Guide for detailed information about proficiency levels assessed in each form.

Rating Scales

In addition to the ACTFL Proficiency Rating Scale, a reading proficiency rating can also be assigned using the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) and the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Assessment Criteria

Interpretive Reading is based largely on the amount of information readers can retrieve from a text as well as the inferences and connections they can make within and across texts and within different contexts. The ACTFL RPT assesses how well readers comprehend written texts regardless of where, when, or how the language was acquired.

In assessing reading comprehension, the following criteria are considered:

  • the functions and purposes of the written language the reader comprehends,
  • the content areas and context for which texts have been written,
  • the text type that the reader can understand,
  • the range of vocabulary and grammatical structures the reader can understand, and
  • the cultural references the reader can understand.

Refer to the RPT Familiarization Guide for detailed information about the assessment criteria as related to the major proficiency levels.

Reasons to Use RPT

Official ACTFL RPT ratings can be used for a variety of purposes in academic, commercial, and government communities. In academia, reading proficiency ratings can be used for admissions, placement into language programs, general assessments, or exit/ graduation requirements. In business and government communities, RPT ratings can be used for certification, hiring, and promotion in multi-lingual positions. Upon completion of an official ACTFL LPT, digital badges, which indicate the proficiency range achieved, are also available through Credly.


Prior to taking the ACTFL RPT, candidates are encouraged to do the following:

Reliability and Validity

The ACTFL LPT has been extensively validated using content-related, criterion-related, and construct-related evidence. Validity and reliability reports can be found as part of ACTFL’s ACE CREDIT review process. Review the bibliography of ACTFL’s ACE Review studies.