French language teaching candidates must demonstrate Advanced Low proficiency to be recommended for licensure.

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) describes the proficiency levels using guidelines and samples including videos of speakers performing at different levels. The requirement is so that teachers will be able to help students according to the new student learning standards. ACTFL has a more in-depth explanation for why French and Spanish candidates must achieve Advanced Low proficiency.

When should I take the proficiency test?

You will need to take the exam upon acceptance into the licensure program. Review the information below, and meet with your advisor before taking the exam.

There are two oral proficiency exam options:

  • The OPI is a telephone interview.
  • The OPIc is a simulated interview via computer with an avatar asking questions, which is less expensive.

The following websites have more information about both of the tests.

Once you are ready to take your OPI or OPIc please contact the ALTEC Resource Coordinator (Rebbeca Allison: rebecca.allison@colorado.edu, 303-492-8224), who will serve as proctor for the exam.

What do I do if I don't score Advanced Low on the exam?

If you do not achieve the minimum language proficiency the first time you take the test, you together with your advisor will devise a plan for achieving minimum proficiency before student teaching.

How can I prepare for the test?

Obviously studying and using your French will improve your skills and test score. Understanding the test can also reduce your anxiety and improve your score.

  • LTI's Frequently-asked questions for test takers.
  • Demo version of the OPIc is available here. Consider recording your answers to the prompts and listening and self-critiquing or asking your advisor to offer feedback.
  • Strategies for developing oral proficiency from SUNY-Oswego's teacher preparation program.
  • Suggestions for when you take the test from from SUNY-Oswego's teacher preparation program.
  • Practice test for the Simulated OPI (SOPI) from the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CELTA) at Michigan State: Practice Test French. The SOPI is different than the OPI and OPIc; CELTA's website has a table that shows how these two tests are different. A good way to practice is to take these tests and send yourself your responses. Listen to your response. Ask a peer, or your advisor to listen and give feedback.