Helping students of Arabic understand, self-assess, and improve their oral proficiency

4a. What is my oral proficiency level?

waiting for inspirationKeep the following tips in mind when self-assessing your oral proficiency:

  • Recognize that each ACTFL level includes all of the previous levels.
    • E.g., in order to be rated at the Advanced level, you have to show that you can complete Novice and Intermediate tasks in addition to Advanced tasks.
  • Remember that there is a range of performance within each level.
    • E.g., not all Intermediate Mid performances sound alike.
  • Compare yourself to the ACTFL level descriptions only—don't think about your grades or your classmates' proficiency.
  • Select the description that represents your highest level of Arabic performance.
  • Answer honestly and objectively.

Find the level below that best describes your speaking abilities in Arabic. Each is linked to a new page where you can listen to sample performances at that proficiency level.


Count I can count aloud to 20 in Arabic.
Greet I can greet Arabic speakers appropriately, both formally and informally, with phrases such as مرحبا
Name I can name everyday objects.
Tell I can give basic personal information such as where I live, where I go to school, and how I learned to speak Arabic.

Go to the Novice level description


Ask I can ask a native Arabic speaker simple questions to get information.
Describe I can describe places or personal activities to an Arabic-speaking friend, for example, the places people my age usually go and the activities they do during their free time.
Direct I can give an Arabic-speaking adult basic directions to a nearby place with which I am familiar.
Make plans I can make plans for an activity with an Arabic-speaking friend, for example, meeting for lunch.

Go to the Intermediate level description


Advise I can give advice, if requested, to an Arabic-speaking friend about something I know, such as learning a foreign language.
Compare I can state what I think are the various advantages and disadvantages of a situation (such as living in a large city) or a decision (such as working while going to school) to an adult Arabic speaker.
Explain I can explain to a native Arabic speaker who is my age the steps involved in a process I am familiar with, such as registering for classes.
Narrate I can narrate in past time, for example, recounting for an Arabic-speaking friend an interesting incident that happened to a friend last week, using correct verb forms and appropriate words to indicate this sequence of events.

Go to the Advanced level description


Defend I can express my opinion to an Arabic-speaking adult about a controversial subject, such as drug legalization, explaining my feelings and giving support for my view.
Discuss I can discuss current events at length with a native speaker of Arabic, for example, an upcoming election.
Hypothesize I can describe at length to an Arabic-speaking adult what I think the possible consequences would be if a certain situation were to exist, for example, if all U.S. businesses were required to provide health insurance to their employees.
Persuade I can attempt to persuade a native speaker of Arabic to take a particular course of action, for example, persuading an Arabic-speaking instructor to take my class to a museum instead of to the zoo.

Go to the Superior level description

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