The following tables reproduce the ACTFL descriptors for Intermediate and Advanced writing proficiency. Use them to understand what an Intermediate writer can do and what this writer needs to master to become an Advanced writer. We recommend you explore the complete publication of the ACTFL Guidelines 2012, available on the ACTFL site as well as the ACTFL Performance Descriptors for Language Learners.
|Criteria ↓ Level →||Intermediate||Advanced|
|Functions||-writes simple messages and letters, requests for information, and notes|
-asks and responds to simple questions in writing
-creates with the language
|-narrates and describes on topics of a factual nature in all major time frames|
|Context/Content||-topics of personal interest and social needs||-informal and some formal topics and contexts|
|Accuracy||-basic vocabulary and structures|
-comprehensible to those accustomed to the writing of non-natives
|-control of major time frames of past, present, and future|
-control of the most frequently used structures and generic vocabulary
-understood by those unaccustomed to the writing of non-natives
|Text Type||-loosely connected sentences||-connected discourse of paragraph length and structure|
While considering the profiles that follow, keep in mind that
- proficiency is global, and all criteria develop interdependently—a writer moves to a higher proficiency level only by mastering all criteria (i.e., demonstrating the evidence to sustain all criteria across the topics and tasks of the level all the time).
- While the elements of proficiency cannot be taught or learned discretely, an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of learners in discrete domains allows instructors to use strengths to scaffold and develop targeted activities to address specific weaknesses.
- Moving from one sublevel to the next may be a lengthy process; one semester might not be enough to observe such advancement, and as such, instructors and learners must set realistic expectations for both short term and long term growth.
- Levels (with the exception of Superior) are divided in sublevels: Low (minimal performance at level), Mid (quantity and quality at level), and High (showing ability at the next major level, but unable to sustain it). The strengths and needs of learners at the different sublevels are diverse; and it follows that writers at the High sub-level attempting the functions of the next major level will show less breakdown than their Low and Mid counterparts. These writers might require less time to move to the next major level than their Low and Mid peers. Differentiated instruction—using, for example, an increasing complexity of writing prompts—is essential for a curriculum that is aligned with realistic and equitable goals for growth.