What is the AAPPL?
What is assessed in the AAPPL?
The ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) is a performance-based assessment of standards-based language learning across the three modes of communication (Interpersonal, Interpretive, and Presentational) as defined by the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. The AAPPL assesses Interpersonal Listening/Speaking (ILS), Interpretive Reading (IR), Interpretive Listening (IL), and Presentational Writing (PW) in an online format. The AAPPL assesses performance, the language that learners have learned and practiced within a classroom setting, providing evidence that points toward a learner's proficiency level. The AAPPL assesses language proficiency within a familiar classroom context.
AAPPL's original design and test framework were based on the 2006 ACTFL Assessment of Uses and Needs, a survey of over 1,600 world language instructors and administrators regarding the assessments they used and the kinds of assessments they needed. The result is the ACTFL Assessment of Performance Toward Proficiency (AAPPL), which not only includes opportunities for students to demonstrates their listening, speaking and reading ability through all three modes of communication, but also incorporates video and other real-life language performance opportunities. Based on its rigorous piloting and field testing and follow-on studies conducted for nearly a decade, the AAPPL represents effective practices in world language performance assessment. Analyses of 9,000 student performances demonstrate that the AAPPL can reliably differentiate examinee results according to different levels as described by the AAPPL performance scores. In addition, item difficulty parameters reflect the targeted proficiency levels. Thus, there is ample evidence to support the validity argument that the AAPPL can measure student performance in a reliable way.
How are AAPPL tasks designed?
The AAPPL assesses the ability to engage in linguistic tasks on topics of personal, social, and academic relevance across the three modes of communication. Each task, such as writing an e-mail message, video-chatting in the target language, or making selections based on the understanding of something heard, read, or viewed, takes place in the context of the language classroom. AAPPL tasks explore a variety of topics that are familiar to learners through classroom instruction or other language learning experiences, such as school, family, and community. The AAPPL resembles a seamless, virtual day in a standards-based classroom.
Each reading passage, listening text, speaking/listening task, or writing prompt is aligned with the features and demands of a major level on the ACTFL scale. In the case of the Interpretive Reading or Interpretive Listening test forms, the language presented to the student embodies features of language observed at a particular level (e.g. Novice, which would be isolated words, short familiar phrases, commonly memorized phrases). In the case of the Presentational and Interpersonal Modes, the tasks elicit language from the student that should have such features.
What languages are assessed in the AAPPL?
All AAPPL tasks target a specific major level of language proficiency (e.g., Novice, Intermediate, or Advanced) as described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012 and the ACTFL Performance Descriptors for Language Learners. The performance tasks are designed to reflect the criteria for the level. For example, all Intermediate Interpersonal Listening/Speaking tasks ask the learner to create with language using sentence-level discourse on everyday topics in predictable contexts. AAPPL tasks are designed to provide multiple opportunities within the same content area to demonstrate ability at the floor level (what the learner can do consistently at that level) as well as multiple opportunities to demonstrate performance at the ceiling level (what the learner cannot do at the next higher level). For the Interpretive modes, the tasks are based on texts from which a reader at that proficiency level is able to derive meaning and therefore should be able to respond to prompts that demonstrate comprehension at that same level. For example, at the Novice level a learner is able to manipulate images to reflect what has been heard, read, or viewed.
What grade levels are appropriate for the AAPPL?
The AAPPL is available in Arabic, Chinese, English (ESL) French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai. New languages are in development.
How many tasks are there in an AAPPL test form?
The AAPPL is designed for mid to late primary students and secondary students in 5th through 12th grades. The ILS component of AAPPL is also appropriate for students in earlier primary grades in immersion programs, assuming that students have adequate computing skills. The AAPPL can also be used as a placement test for incoming first-year college students.
Ordering the AAPPL for Seal of Biliteracy Awards?
Six. There are two forms of the AAPPL: Form A and Form B. Form A is composed of three Novice-level tasks and then three Intermediate-level tasks. For Form B, there are three Intermediate-level tasks and then three Advanced-level tasks. This is the same for each test component. For suggestions on how to perform one's best on the test, watch the videos on the tips page.
If ordering AAPPL tests for Seal of Biliteracy Awards, we recommend checking your state’s Department of Education website for what AAPPL score is accepted. Many states require a score that can only be obtained by using FORM B.
Scores and Reports
How are AAPPL tasks rated?
How are AAPPL scores reported?
AAPPL Interpersonal Listening/Speaking (ILS) and Presentational Writing (PW) tasks are rated by ACTFL certified AAPPL raters. Raters determine whether the responses within each topical area meet or do not meet the criteria for the level. If each set of responses is at the targeted level, the next step is to determine if it is a minimal or strong performance for the level. If the response is not at the targeted level, the rater determines whether there is some evidence of the criteria for the level or no evidence. The rater therefore has multiple opportunities to evaluate the test taker's ability across tasks and across topics at one level as well as to evaluate ability at the next higher level. AAPPL Interpretive Listening (IL) and Interpretive Reading (IR) tasks are machine scored.
How might I use AAPPL scores?
AAPPL test takers receive a separate score for each component or mode assessed. AAPPL scores range from N-1 (low range of Novice) through A-1 (the beginning end of the Advanced range). For learners whose performance exceeds the criteria for the highest level of the scale (A-1), an ACTFL Proficiency test is recommended (for example, the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) or the ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT).
Within the Novice level, the scores are N-1, N-2, N-3, and N-4. A score of N-1 reflects the abilities described as Novice Low in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012. Scores of N-2 and N-3 reflect Novice-Mid abilities, with N-3 being a stronger performance within the Novice-Mid range; N-4 reflects Novice-High abilities. This means that a learner who receives the score of N-4, in addition to performing all Novice level functions fully, also shows performance at the Intermediate level, but not consistently.
Within the Intermediate level, the scores are I-1, I-2, I-3, I-4, and I-5. A score of I-1 reflects the abilities described as Intermediate Low in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012. Scores of I-2, I-3, and I-4 are all in the Intermediate-Mid range. Given that the Intermediate Mid represents a broad range of abilities, the delineation allows learners and teachers to determine where the performance falls within that broad range and to track progress within that range. I-5 reflects Intermediate High abilities. This means that a learner who receives the score of I-5, in addition to performing all Intermediate level functions fully, also shows performance at the Advanced level, but not consistently. Learners are presented with Advanced-level tasks on Form B so that they are given the opportunity to provide evidence of performance at that level.
A score of A-1 reflects fully-sustained performance at Intermediate and significant performance within the Advanced range as well.
The following guide relates AAPPL Performance Scores to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012:
As noted above, for learners whose performance exceeds the criteria for the highest level of the scale (I-5), an ACTFL Proficiency test is recommended.
How is score reporting data accessed?
AAPPL scores are an indication of a learner's language ability within the Novice, Intermediate and Advanced ranges. Scores can be used to establish baseline levels at the beginning of a course or at key milestones in a program to provide evidence of a learner's performance as one progresses along the proficiency continuum. AAPPL scores document whether learners and programs are reaching designated benchmark levels and therefore can be used to evaluate the alignment of curricular learning targets with actual learner performance and with national or state standards. AAPPL scores are appropriate to award credit by examination or for program placement purposes, for example, for heritage learners.
What information do test takers receive?
All data are accessed via your client site.
What reports are available for instructors and/or districts?
Test takers receive an AAPPL score report indicating separate scores for each individual component of AAPPL that the learner has taken. In addition, there is a description of each score and recommendations for improvement. The score report can be printed from your client site account.
What is the average delivery time for results?
All AAPPL reporting data can be viewed via your client site account either for individual students or in an aggregate report. All data may also be downloaded to a spreadsheet, which will allow you to sort and filter as needed. Additional automated reports allow you to see national data, teacher/school data, and class data.
The Interpretive Reading and Listening components are machine-scored and scores are available immediately after testing, by logging in to your LTI client site account. The Interpersonal Listening/Speaking and Presentational Writing components are rated by ACTFL certified AAPPL raters. Test results are generally made available within two weeks after test administration.
How are tests ordered?
How long in advance must I establish my LTI/ACTFL Testing account?
You must first request from Language Testing International (LTI), the ACTFL Testing Office, that an account be created for your school or district. To request an account, visit https://tms.languagetesting.com/AAPPLNew or call LTI at 1-800-486-8444. Once you have an AAPPL account, you will be able to order assessments and retrieve test results through a customized Web "portal" we refer to as your "client site." See the AAPPL Guide for more information about how to order and administer AAPPL tests.
If you already have an AAPPL testing account, you can begin ordering your tests today at your client site https://www.languagetesting.com/client. You can also retrieve lost/forgotten Usernames and Passwords there. If your account is from previous years, please log into your client site and click on "My Account" to review and update account administrator information. If you wish to add or replace sub-accounts (districts, schools, or teachers), click on "Sub-accounts" in your client site.
What is the cost of the AAPPL?
If you haven't already established an AAPPL testing account, please contact LTI at least three weeks in advance of the day you wish to begin testing. This does not apply if you already have an AAPPL testing account. If you already have an AAPPL testing account, you can order your tests today at your client site https://www.languagetesting.com/client. You can also retrieve your lost/forgotten Username and Password there. If your account is from previous years, we recommend that you contact LTI to update your account, to make sure your teachers have logins to request tests and retrieve test results.
When will I receive an invoice?
The AAPPL can be ordered as an assessment with all four components for $20 per student. Ordered individually or in any combination, the Interpersonal Listening/Speaking assessment is $10, Presentational Writing is $5, and the two Interpretive components of Reading and Listening are offered together for a total of $5. You will be charged only for the test components that have been completed and rated.
How do I know which form to select for my students?
As tests are completed and rated, invoices will be generated on the 15th and 30th of each month, until all completed and rated tests have been invoiced. We can also accommodate payment in advance. Payment is due 30 days after invoicing.
There are two forms of the AAPPL that assess different ranges of language ability. Form A assesses learners in the Novice and Intermediate ranges according to the ACTFL Performance Descriptors for Language Learners. Form A contains Novice- and Intermediate-level tasks only. Form B assesses learners in the Intermediate to Advanced ranges. Form B targets Intermediate- and Advanced-level tasks.
Where do my students go to login and take the test?
When is the AAPPL administered?
How long is the AAPPL?
The AAPPL is available any time throughout the year.
In what order are the AAPPL components delivered?
The four components of the test take approximately two hours combined. Each component takes approximately 30 minutes and can be administered in one sitting, or in multiple sittings. Students may "quit" at any time, and the test will return them to the point at which they "quit." Students should be advised not to start a task if they know there will not be enough time to finish it. Student work is lost only if one "quits" in the middle of a task. It is advisable for teachers to give students a 5-minute notice followed by a 2-minute warning that time is running out, in order to prevent students from having to "quit" in the middle of a task.
Does AAPPL have to be proctored?
You have the ability to select any or all of the components of the AAPPL (ILS, IR, IL, PW). The selected components can be delivered in any order you choose. Learners can work at their own pace and move on to the next component after completing a component.
What if my students have a problem during testing?
Yes! To assure the integrity of the test and the test results, the AAPPL must be administered in a proctored environment. When your LTI/ACTFL Testing account is established, you will be provided with the Proctoring Agreement, which is also available here.
What are some of the security features built into the AAPPL?
Please make sure, in advance of testing, and on the day of testing, that you will have access to local IT Support during testing. The vast majority of problems encountered relate to the computer's headphone and microphone settings, which is unrelated to AAPPL, and must be resolved on site. Please note that if you are using the Google Chrome browser, you must select "Allow" at the top of the page for the microphone to work. Please also see the "TECHNOLOGY" section, below.
If you have any problems with AAPPL that you cannot resolve by closing the browser and logging the student back in to the test, for immediate assistance please call the AAPPL Help Desk at 800-486-8444 and press "1." Alternatively you may email email@example.com. Please include the name and login of the student who had a problem with the test, and a detailed description of the problem, so we can trace, and resolve it for you.
In order to ensure test security and that each candidate’s responses are genuine, ACTFL and LTI have put in place several test security features. Many test security features are “invisible” to the users but the following may be noticeable to test takers and should not be considered as a malfunction of your device’s operation:
The following features are automatically disabled once a test taker has logged into an AAPPL assessment:
- The mouse’s right-click feature;
- The back button;
- The Google Translate browser extension, if installed.
Additionally, if a test taker leaves the browser window on which the assessment is being delivered by opening another window or trying to access another program, she/he will be logged out of the test and will need to sign back in to continue with the assessment. These logins and logouts are logged within our platform.
What technology is required to administer the AAPPL?
How can I be sure my Internet speed is fast enough to deliver AAPPL simultaneously to all the students in my classes?
The AAPPL is designed to function on the most commonly available technology: broadband internet; a relatively recent version of Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, or Safari browsers; and headset with microphone. There are also various protocols that schools must follow prior to administering the AAPPL. To check your computer for compatibility with the AAPPL test delivery system, see the AAPPL System Check for the version of the test you will be administering: AAPPL 1.0 or AAPPL 2.0.
It is very important that your school's IT support staff are notified at least 3 weeks in advance of testing. Ask them to review the TECHNOLOGY section of the AAPPL FAQs to be assured of required computer lab time, and computer readiness to administer AAPPL. Please also have an IT staff member on hand during testing to help with local computer, headset and microphone issues, should they occur. Please run the AAPPL System Check on all computers and plug in and verify headset and microphone settings immediately prior to testing. If students will use their own laptops, rather than desktops in a lab, make sure the school receives all laptops well enough in advance on the day of testing to adjust the headset and microphone settings and run the AAPPL System Check. If students will be taking the AAPPL writing component, they will be using their computer's keyboard. Instructions for using the characters and conventions for AAPPL are found on the TECHNOLOGY section of the AAPPL FAQs.
Special note for Chrome browser users: Please be aware that there is a security feature in Chrome that blocks access to the microphone used in the AAPPL Interpersonal Listening and Speaking test component. The user must now click on the "allow" button at the top of the page in order for the microphone to record audio. If not set, the microphone check will fail and the test taker will not be able to advance to AAPPL. See: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/2693767?p=ib_access_cam_mic&rd=1 for more information.
What if my computer does not meet the requirements of the AAPPL System Check?
Prior to the actual day of the assessment, have all the students in a class simultaneously take the first component of one of the AAPPL demo tests. If there are no problems with the students simultaneously accessing the first component of the demo test, this strongly suggests that your bandwidth will support the administration of the AAPPL for the same number of students. If you do encounter problems, administer the AAPPL demo to a smaller number of students simultaneously to help determine connectivity. Wireless networks often tend to accommodate fewer simultaneous administrations than computers that have wired access to the Internet. It is recommended that schools not administer AAPPL wirelessly if at all possible.
What keyboard setup is required to administer the AAPPL?
If your screen resolution does not meet the recommended size, the AAPPL will still function however some scrolling may be required to see all information within the browser window. If your bandwidth is lower than the recommended rate, the assessment will take longer and some items may not load correctly. Please contact your network administrator and/or the school's technology coordinator or support person if any of the following occur: your bandwidth rate is low, the recommended software is not up-to-date, or the microphone does not work. For more details regarding hardware and network requirements, see the AAPPL Technical Specifications.
If the Presentational Writing mode is being assessed, teachers must be made aware that familiarity with language support regarding keyboard functions is needed. It is also very important that your school's technology coordinator or support person be notified well in advance of the test date in order to be assured of keyboard readiness when administering AAPPL.
- AAPPL 1.0
- AAPPL will use any language keyboard application your school uses for instruction.
- For ESL (English), French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, students taking the Presentational Writing component on a Windows-based computer may also use ALT codes, as described here. Alternatively, language-specific keyboard layouts can be set up instead. Select the operating system for the computer being used and follow the directions provided to complete the set-up: Windows 10, Windows 8, Chromebook, MacOS.
- For Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Thai, language-specific keyboard layouts must be set up. (Similarly, they may be used, as well, for French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, if desired.) Select the operating system for the computer being used and follow the directions provided to complete the set-up: Windows 10, Windows 8, Chromebook, MacOS, iOS.
- AAPPL 2.0
- AAPPL will use any language keyboard application your school uses for instruction.
- For ESL (English), French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, on-screen special character support is provided wherever students will be entering text. No additional set-up is required. Students taking the PW component on a Windows-based computer may also use ALT codes, as described here, if that’s preferable.
- For Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Thai, language-specific keyboard layouts must be set up. (Similarly, they may be used, as well, for French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, if desired.) Select the operating system for the device being used and follow the directions provided to complete the set-up: Windows 10, Windows 8, Chromebook, MacOS, iOS For Android tablets, consult your device’s online support to determine how to change keyboard input settings.
To check your computer keyboard for readiness see the AAPPL System Check for the version of the test you will be administering: AAPPL 1.0 or AAPPL 2.0.