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The ACTFL Latin Interpretive Reading Assessment (ALIRA)


ALIRA was created through a collaborative effort between The American Classical League (ACL) and ACTFL. It is a first-of-its kind assessment that is based on both the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages 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.

A Performance Assessment of Interpretive Reading

ALIRA assesses 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 ALIRA uses a wide variety of texts including shorter and longer texts from ancient Rome, authentic historical documents, and modern texts from today's classical studies classrooms.

ALIRA provides a performance rating that aligns with benchmark points along the continuum towards proficiency. Within the Novice level there are five such points (represented as N-1 through N-5), within the Intermediate ranges there are four points (I-1 through I-4), and there is one point within the Advanced range (A-1). The score reports provide an explanation of each score.

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Latin is alive and around us

The message of ALIRA is simple: Latin is alive and all around us. ALIRA reflects this firmly-held conviction 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 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 modern 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 entries.
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. They generally represent a narrative such as one might find in a news story.

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, ACTFL and ACL will document 15 hours of continuing education.


ALIRA's design manifests the widely-used, highly-validated principles of proficiency/performance testing wherein test takers are given multiple opportunities to to show sustained comprehension of texts whose demands and accompanying question align with author's purpose and the ACTFL proficiency scale. For example, texts at the Intermediate level are composed of strings of sentences that can be reordered without loss of meaning. Because ALIRA is computer-adaptive, the test modulates upwards or downwards based on performance, much as a tester would do during a live ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview. Mimicking the trained tester's judgments and protocols, ALIRA's algorithms evaluate the performance at each level and assign a score. A white paper on ALIRA validity will be published in the spring of 2016. Sessions on ALIRA validity will be given at the annual ACL and ACTFL conferences. Among the validity-related topics addressed are test design, text-task alignment, quality assurance measures, the role of subject matter experts, performance data and score use.