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Assigning CEFR Ratings to ACTFL Assessments

There are two major frameworks for learning, teaching, and assessing foreign language skills: the U.S. defined scales of proficiency, i.e., the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines/ILR Skill Level Descriptions, and the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). Both frameworks form the basis of major testing and certification systems. Despite the fact that both systems have co-existed for close to 15 years, there were few empirical studies to establish correspondences between them. The fact that there were no official correspondences led to an array of proposed alignments between the two systems. In order to address the challenges deriving from two major frameworks coexisting but not interacting with each other, ACTFL launched the first of a series of four ACTFL-CEFR Alignment Conferences in 2010. The goal of this series was to establish an empirically-based alignment between the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and the CEFR and the tests based on those frameworks.
Based on the information and discussions from the ACTFL-CEFR Conferences and resulting papers and journals, ACTFL worked with an EU-based research group to develop an ACTFLCEFR crosswalk to be able to offer CEFR ratings for ACTFL assessments. The findings from the extensive research and linking and validation studies, show that CEFR ratings can be assigned on ACTFL assessments, in all languages. Studies also indicate that these are one-directional correspondences, that is to say, CEFR ratings can be assigned to ACTFL tests, however, the reverse cannot be stated. To date, no CEFR-based test, or other international test not developed by ACTFL, has been linked to the ACTFL Framework.

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