Oral Proficiency Interview by Computer® (OPIc)

To take a Demo version of the OPIc, click here, and leave the username and password blank.

To download a Familiarization Manual, click here.

What is the Oral Proficiency Interview by Computer (OPIc)?
What is the format of the OPIc?
Taking the ACTFL OPIc
Background Survey: Selecting Topics of Conversation
Self Assessment: Defining the Level of the OPIc
OPIc Test Administration
Ava – the OPIc “Tester”
How is the OPIc rated?
Who rates the OPIc?
How reliable is the OPIc?
How do I request an OPIc?
How are OPIcs proctored?
What is the cost of an OPIc?
In what languages is the OPIc available?

What is the Oral Proficiency Interview – Computer?

The OPIc is an Internet-delivered test which provides valid and reliable oral proficiency testing on a large scale. It was developed in response to the increased worldwide demand for the testing of oral language proficiency. The computer delivered assessment emulates the “live” OPI, but delivery of questions is through a carefully designed computer program, and via a virtual avatar. Thus the test can be taken on demand, and at at a time convenient to the candidate and proctor.

The goal of the instrument is the same as the OPI: to obtain a ratable sample of speech which a rater can evaluate and compare to the ACTFL or ILR Proficiency Guidelines in order to assign a rating.  The current version of the OPIc rates the full range of the ACTFL scale, from Novice through Superior.

The popularity and reputation of the OPIc has resulted in significant increase in demand for OPIc testing (an increase of 4,000% in 15 years). More and more schools and universities use the interview as an instrument of assessment. More and more commercial enterprises, international organizations, and government agencies recognize the usefulness of the OPIc as a reliable tool to deter-mine the linguistic capabilities of their personnel.

What is the format of the OPIc?

The OPIc structure is based on one of five test forms.

Form 1 – targets proficiency levels Novice Low through Novice High, though any rating from Novice Low through Intermediate Low can be assigned to a sample that is elicited using Form 1.

Form 2 – targets proficiency levels Novice High through Intermediate Mid though any rating from Novice Low through Advanced can be assigned to a sample that is elicited using Form 2.

Form 3 – targets proficiency levels Intermediate Mid through Advanced, though any rating from Novice Low through Advanced can be assigned to a sample that is elicited using Form 3.

Form 4 – targets proficiency levels Advanced Low through Superior, though any rating from Novice Low through Superior can be assigned to a sample that is elicited using Form 4.

Form 5 – targets proficiency levels Advanced High through Superior, though Advanced Mid can also be assigned to a sample that is elicited using Form 4.

Taking the ACTFL OPIc

Before beginning the OPIc, test takers complete a Background Survey and a Self Assessment. They also receive a full overview and explanation of OPIc procedures, including a sample test question. These instructions are delivered in the test taker’s native language.

Background Survey: Selecting Topics of Conversation

The Background Survey is a questionnaire which elicits information about the test taker’s work, school, home, personal activities and interests. The test taker completes the survey and the answers determine the pool of topics from which the computer will randomly select questions. The variety of topics, the types of questions, and the range of possible combinations the computer can generate allow for individually designed interviews. Even if two test takers selected the same combination of Background Survey responses, the resulting test would not be the same.

Self Assessment: Defining the Level of the OPIc

The Self Assessment provides six different descriptions of how well a person can speak a language. Test takers select the description that they feel most accurately describes their language ability. Samples of speech accompany each descriptor; thus test takers can also listen to samples to help select the most appropriate description. The Self Assessment choice determines which one of five OPIc test forms (Form 1, Form 2, Form 3, Form 4, or Form 5) is generated for the specific individual. The choices made by the test taker in response to the Background Survey and the Self Assessment assure that each test taker receives an adaptive and unique test.

OPIc Test Administration

The OPIc is delivered via the Internet and on any secure computer that meets the minimum technical specifications detailed here.

The OPIc provides detailed test instructions and directions on how to listen to the questions and record answers. In order to ensure that the test taker understands these instructions, a sample question is provided for the test taker to practice the functionality of the OPIc. The test taker has the opportunity to re-review the instructions and sample question before beginning the test. The test taker then begins the OPIc test.

Ava – the OPIc “Tester”

Ava is an avatar figure that personifies the OPIc tester. Test takers listen to her questions and respond to her. Having the picture of Ava on the screen helps to engage the test takers in conversation and mimics a one-on-one conversation with a native speaker of the target language.

The first part of all interviews is: “Let’s start the interview now. Tell me something about yourself.” This part functions as a warm-up and an opportunity for the speaker to begin using the language.

How is the OPIc rated?

Once the OPIc test is complete, the speech sample is uploaded and saved automatically on a secure Internet site. Certified OPIc Raters use their individual logins and passwords to enter the OPIc Rating Site for access by raters. The OPIc Rater listens to the sample and finds the best match between the sample and the assessment criteria of the rating scale. A rating at any major level is arrived at by the sustained performance across ALL of the criteria of the level. An appropriate sublevel can then be determined, and the rating is assigned.

Who rates the OPIc?

ACTFL Certified OPIc Raters are highly specialized language professionals who have completed a rigorous training process that concludes with a rater’s demonstrated ability to consistently rate samples with a high degree of reliability.

OPIc Raters are expected to respect and follow OPIc rating protocols, procedures and guidelines. They comply regularly with ongoing renorming and quality assurance practices. Confidentiality and exclusivity are important practices for all OPIc Raters. Work with the OPIc rating process must be done exclusively through Language Testing International, the ACTFL Testing Office.

How reliable is the OPIc?

Research carried out by independent third-party analysts shows that a high percentage of OPIc ratings correspond to those issued through OPI. The OPIc has exhibited validity through research on inter-rater reliability, test-retest reliability and construct-validity evidence. The live ACTFL OPI has been shown over time to be a valid and reliable tool for assessing global speaking proficiency, a quality that has been borne out in study after study. The OPIc is simply a new and easier way of delivering the same certitude provided by the live OPI.

How do I request an OPIc?

To schedule an OPIc, your organization will be provided with a free Internet-based client utility by Language Testing International – we will collect some basic administrative information and then provide access to the secure site. Using this utility, the organization can request assessments, track those requests, confirm appointments, and see results.

Generally, assessments can be scheduled within a few working days, and results are available in one working day (for commercial OPIcs), or ten working days (for Certified OPIcs).

How are OPIcs proctored?

The OPIc must be proctored by a trusted, responsible individual, ideally a member of the HR department of the organization requesting the assessment. This individual, nominated by the organizing agency, will sign a form and provide it to LTI in advance of the assessment, undertaking to guarantee the identity of the candidate and the conditions under which the test is taken.

What is the cost of an OPIc?

Please contact us for commercial pricing. Federal government and other qualified buyers can find our GSA Schedule here.

In what languages is the OPIc available?

Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Pashto, Persian Farsi, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish