ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT)

WPT logo header

The ACTFL WPT is a web-based, proctored, standardized, global assessment of functional writing ability in a language. It measures how well a person spontaneously writes in a language – as described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines for Writing - without access to language/grammar resources or editing tools. The WPT is not an achievement test, assessing a writer’s acquisition of specific aspects of course and/or curriculum content, nor is it tied to any specific method of instruction. Rather, it assesses writing proficiency in terms of the ability to write effectively and appropriately for real-life writing purposes. Responses are then rated by ACTFL-certified raters, who compare the writer's performance on specific writing tasks to the criteria as outlined on a proficiency rating scale such as the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.

Reasons to Use the WPT

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


Official ACTFL WPTs are currently available in the following languages: Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Bengali/ Bangla, Bosnian/ Croatian, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dari, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek (Modern), Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malayalam, Mandarin, Pashto, Persian Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbo/Croatian, Spanish, Swedish, Swahili, Tamil, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Yoruba.

Seal of Biliteracy

The WPT is available for the Seal of Biliteracy for high school students, in Grades 11 & 12. Visit the Seal of Biliteracy Assessment page for more information.


Customized Test Content

The choices made by the test taker in response to the Background Survey and the Self-Assessment ensure that each test taker receives a customized and unique test.

Test Forms & Proficiency Ranges

The WPT assesses the full range of the ACTFL Proficiency - from Novice to Superior - on 3 different test forms. The results of the Self-Assessment automatically generate the appropriate form.

  • Form 1 can provide a rating within the proficiency range of Novice Low to Intermediate Mid (NL – IM). The average administration time is 40 minutes.
  • Form 2 can provide a rating within the proficiency range of Novice Low to Advanced Mid (NL – AM). The average administration time is 60 minutes.
  • Form 3 can provide a rating within the proficiency range of Novice Low to Superior (NL – S). The average administration time is 80 minutes.

Assessment Criteria

The WPT is rated exclusively by ACTFL-certified raters. Responses on the Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) are assessed from a global perspective. In evaluating writing, the following criteria are considered:

  • Functions or global tasks the writer performs
  • Content areas and contexts within which the writer performs the tasks
  • Accuracy of the writing, and
  • Length and organization of the text the writer produces

Note that discrete linguistic components are viewed from a communicative perspective and are thus considered in terms of how they contribute to the overall message communicated in the written sample.

Tests are double-rated and an official ACTFL WPT certificate is issued to the candidate. The certificate includes the rating and the description of the rating and the description of language ability associated with the rating.


Prior to taking ACTFL’s Writing Proficiency Test (WPT), takers are encouraged to do the following:

Reliability and Validity

The ACTFL WPT is a valid and reliable assessment of writing proficiency (e.g. Surface & Dierdorff, 2004; Tschirner & Barenfenger, 2011). ACTFL assessments also undergo regular external reviews as part of the ACE CREDIT review process. Review the bibliography of ACTFL’s ACE Review studies.