2010 ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines: Reading (DRAFT) Distinguished At the Distinguished Level, readers can fully understand a wide variety of professional and general texts characterized by one or more of the following: a high level of abstraction, precision and/or obscurity of vocabulary, cultural reference, or the complexity of structure. Readers are able to comprehend implicit information, tone, and point of view and can follow highly involved arguments. They are able consistently to understand unpredictable turns of thought. Readers at the Distinguished Level are able to understand writing tailored to specific audiences as well as historical, regional, and colloquial variations of the language. These readers are able to appreciate fully the richness and beauty of written language. Distinguished texts use highly precise, often low-frequency vocabulary as well as complex rhetorical structures to convey often subtle or highly specialized information. They may be lengthy. The density of information may occasionally require a reader at this level to reread certain parts of the text. The Distinguished Level reader reads most often with the accuracy of a well-educated, native reader. Distinguished Level readers process language from within the cultural framework and are able to understand a writer’s use of nuance and subtlety. Superior At the Superior Level, readers are able to comprehend texts from many genres dealing with a wide range of subjects, both familiar and unfamiliar. Comprehension is no longer limited to the reader’s familiarity with subject matter but also comes from a command of the language that is supported by a broad vocabulary, an understanding of more complex structures and knowledge of the target culture. Readers at the Superior Level often read to learn and learn from reading. They can draw inferences from textual and extralinguistic clues. Their reading speed is not limited by a need to process the language. Superior texts use precise, often specialized vocabulary and complex grammatical structures. These texts discuss abstract topics using abstract linguistic formulations. Superior texts often are written for professional audiences, can be reasoned and thoughtful and frequently contain cultural references. Superior Level readers read in many ways like a native. At this level the reader is able to get meaning from lengthy texts of a professional, academic or literary nature, but not fully understand texts in which cultural references and assumptions are densely embedded. ACTFL 2010 Proficiency Guidelines – Reading (Draft) Do not duplicate. Do not distribute. 2010 ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines: Reading (DRAFT) Advanced At the Advanced Level, readers can understand the main idea and supporting details of authentic texts of one or more paragraphs. Readers are able to compensate for limitations in their lexical and structural knowledge by using contextual clues; comprehension is likewise supported by greater knowledge of the conventions of the language. Advanced Level readers are able to read to learn from Advanced Level texts, and most of these readers are able to handle some aspects of Superior Level texts, such as the main and supporting arguments if they are familiar with the subject matter. Advanced Level texts have a clear and predictable structure in general. For the most part, the prose is uncomplicated and the subject matter pertains to topics of general interest. There may or may not be evidence of the author’s voice. Advanced Level readers demonstrate a growing independence and an ability to read subject matter that is new to them. They have sufficient control of standard linguistic conventions to understand sequencing, time frames and chronology. However these readers are challenged by texts in which there are abstract topics or the author’s voice predominates. Advanced High At the Advanced High Level, readers are able to understand Advanced Level texts of any length fully and with ease. They are able to follow many of the essential points of texts at the Superior level in areas of special interest or knowledge. In addition, they are able to understand parts of texts that are conceptually abstract and linguistically complex, and/or texts that deal with unfamiliar topics or situations, as well as some texts that contain specific reference to the culture of the target language. These readers are able to go beyond comprehension of the facts in a text and to begin to make appropriate inferences. An emerging awareness of the aesthetic properties of language and of its literary styles permits comprehension of a wider variety of texts, including literary texts. Misunderstandings may occur when reading texts above the Advanced Level. Advanced Mid At the Advanced Mid Level, readers are able to read Advanced-Level texts of several paragraphs in length, particularly if presented with a clear underlying structure. The text reflects the standard linguistic conventions of the written form of the language. The reader understands the main ideas and many supporting facts. Comprehension derives not only from situational knowledge and subject matter knowledge but also from an increasing knowledge of the language itself. Advanced Low At the Advanced Low Level, readers are able to read short, paragraph-length Advanced Level texts with a clear underlying structure. The prose uses highfrequency vocabulary and structures. The reader understands the main ideas, and some supporting facts. Comprehension derives primarily from situational knowledge and subject matter knowledge. ACTFL 2010 Proficiency Guidelines – Reading (Draft) Do not duplicate. Do not distribute. 2010 ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines: Reading (DRAFT) Intermediate At the Intermediate Level, readers can understand some information conveyed in simple, predictable, loosely connected texts. Readers rely heavily on contextual clues; they can most easily process information if the format of the text is familiar, such as in a weather report or social announcement. At this level readers are typically still learning to read in the target language and not yet reading to learn. Intermediate texts impart basic information such as that found in announcements, notices, and on-line bulletin boards and forums. Their content can be reordered without loss of meaning. These texts are non-complex and have a clear underlying internal structure. They contain simple, minimally connected discourse with high-frequency grammatical structures and vocabulary. There is no discernible author’s voice. Intermediate Level readers are most accurate when getting meaning from simple, straightforward texts. They are able to comprehend messages found in highly familiar everyday contexts. At this level readers are not able to comprehend fully texts that are detailed and they are not yet able to process texts in which sequencing, time frame, and chronology are essential. Intermediate High At the Intermediate High Level, readers are able to understand Intermediate-Level texts fully and with ease. The reader usually can get meaning from texts at the Advanced Level featuring description and narration although there may be gaps in understanding due to a limited knowledge of the vocabulary and structures of the language. Intermediate Mid At the Intermediate Mid Level, readers are able to read Intermediate-Level texts consistently on a variety of personal and social topics although misunderstandings may occur. The reader at this level may get some meaning from Advanced-Level texts dealing with familiar topics. Intermediate Low At the Intermediate Low Level, readers are able to understand some information from the simplest connected texts dealing with a limited number of personal and social needs. Misunderstandings are frequent. The reader at this level will be challenged to derive meaning from Advanced-Level texts. ACTFL 2010 Proficiency Guidelines – Reading (Draft) Do not duplicate. Do not distribute. 2010 ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines: Reading (DRAFT) Novice At the Novice Level, readers can understand key words and cognates, formulaic phrases that are highly contextualized. Readers at this level are beginning to learn to read in the target language. Novice texts such as a hotel bill, a credit card receipt or a weather map are highly predictable and loosely organized, often with limited cohesion. They may rely heavily on extralinguistic support to convey meaning such as the imagery on the weather map. At the Novice Level recognition leads to comprehension. Novice Level readers are best able to comprehend a text when they are able to anticipate the information in it. At this level texts that are not essentially fragmentary in nature challenge readers’ ability to comprehend. Novice High At the Novice High Level, the reader can understand Novice-Level texts fully and with ease. Where vocabulary has been learned, the Novice-High reader can understand predictable expressions and messages such as those found on train schedules, roadmaps and traffic signs. At times, but not on a consistent basis, the reader may be able to derive meaning from texts at the Intermediate Level in which there is contextual or extralinguistic support. Novice Mid At the Novice Mid Level, readers are able to recognize the letters or symbols of an alphabetic and/or syllabic writing system or a limited number of characters in a character-based language. The reader can identify an increasing number of highly contextualized words and/or phrases including cognates and borrowed words but rarely understands material that exceeds a single phrase. Rereading may be required. Novice Low At the Novice Low Level, readers are able to recognize a limited number of letters, symbols or characters. The reader is occasionally able to identify highfrequency words and/or phrases when strongly supported by context. The Novice Low reader will have difficulty understanding even after reading and rereading. ACTFL 2010 Proficiency Guidelines – Reading (Draft) Do not duplicate. Do not distribute.