How Long Does it Take to Become Proficient?

The following ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Ratings represent levels of expected performance for language learners who complete full-time intensive and/or immersion, proficiency-based language training under the supervision of an instructor and with 1-4 students per class.

Group I Languages:

Including Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish…

Length of Training Minimal Aptitude Average Aptitude Superior Aptitude
8 weeks (240 hours) Intermediate Low Intermediate Mid Intermediate Mid
16 weeks (480 hours) Intermediate High Advanced Low Advanced Mid
24 weeks (720 hours) Advanced Mid Advanced High Superior

Group II Languages:

Including Bulgarian, Dari, Farsi, German, Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Malay, Urdu…

Length of Training Minimal Aptitude Average Aptitude Superior Aptitude
16 weeks (480 hours) Intermediate Low Intermediate Mid/High Intermediate High
24 weeks (720 hours) Intermediate High Advanced Low/Mid Advanced Mid/High
44 weeks(1320 hours) Advanced Mid/High Advanced High/Superior Superior

Group III Languages:

Including Amharic, Bengali, Burmese, Czech, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Khmer, Lao, Nepali, Pipilino, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Sinhala, Thai, Tamil, Turkish, Vietnamese…

Length of Training Minimal Aptitude Average Aptitude Superior Aptitude
16 weeks (480 hours) Novice High Intermediate Low/Mid Intermediate Mid/High
24 weeks (720 hours) Intermediate High Advanced Low Advanced Mid/High
44 weeks(1320 hours) Advanced Mid Advanced High Superior

Group IV Languages:

Including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean…

Length of Training Minimal Aptitude Average Aptitude Superior Aptitude
16 weeks (480 hours) Novice High Intermediate Low Intermediate Low/Mid
24 weeks (720 hours) Intermediate Low/Mid Intermediate Mid/High Intermediate High
44 weeks(1320 hours) Intermediate High Advanced Low Advanced Mid/High
80-92 weeks (2400-2760 hours) Advanced High Superior Superior

Source: Judith E. Liskin-Gasparro. ETS Oral Proficiency Testing Manual. Princeton, N.J.: Educational Testing Service, 1982. ILR ratings have been converted to reflect the equivalent ACTFL ratings.

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