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What is Language Proficiency?

Language proficiency relates to a person's ability to produce and understand a particular language. Proficiency test scores reflect the level at which a person can communicate in the language that they test in. Proficiency rating reflects the functional ability to communicate in a language. Knowing employees’ proficiency in a language. Individuals who take DC Language Center proficiency assessments in world languages receive an assessment reflecting their language skills level that can help them know their real level and improve.

Proficiency Assessment

DC Language Center is ready to take on the challenge of reducing the applicant burden. You might like to consider the Proficiency Placement Test (PPT) for economizing resources.


For institutions of higher education in need of a low-cost, low-stakes assessment or individuals, the Proficiency Placement Test (PPT) is an adaptive, criterion-referenced test of speaking, reading, and listening proficiency. The PPT is affordable and takes a total of 60 minutes or less to administer three sections. Results are aligned with the ACTFL, ILR or European Test Proficiency Guidelines- Speaking/Reading/Listening for Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced language abilities. Currently, the PPT is available in French and Spanish.

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What is the format of the PPT?

The test consists of three sections, speaking, reading and listening, which assess the interpretive mode of communication, as described in the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. Each section consists of test items across a range of proficiency levels to assess language proficiency between Novice Low and Advanced.

The APPT can last up to 90 minutes.

What are the topics in the PPT?

Based on its proficiency-based framework. The PPT will assess a broad range of topics appropriate for adults. Genuine texts and passages are presented from any source including everyday life, business and economics, politics and current events, education, science and technology, education, in addition to arts and entertainment, etc.

How is the PPT rated?

Once enough information has been gathered to assign a floor rating (the level at which the test taker has demonstrated sustained performance) and a ceiling rating (the level at which the examinee has demonstrated patterns of breakdown), the test will end. Test takers receive a separate rating for speaking, reading and listening. Ratings are aligned with the ACTFL, ILR, or CEFR Rating Scale, and range from Novice Low to Advanced High.


The results should only be used for low-stakes purposes such as placement. However, test takers will be asked to adhere to an honor code that appears when they log into the test and not use any human support or language resource materials (paper, electronic, or otherwise) during the test, and not copy, record, or share any test content in any way. 

In what languages is the PPT available?

The APPT is currently available in French and Spanish.

Select an option

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