0+ (Memorized Proficiency) Can recognize all the letters in the printed
version of an alphabetic system and high-frequency elements of a
syllabary or a character system. Able to read some or all of the
following: numbers, isolated words and phrases, personal and place
names, street signs, office and shop designations. The above often
interpreted inaccurately. Unable to read connected prose.
1 (Elementary Proficiency) Sufficient comprehension to read very simple
connected written material in a form equivalent to usual printing
or typescript. Can read either representations of familiar formulaic
verbal exchanges or simple language containing only the highest frequency
structural patterns and vocabulary, including shared international
vocabulary items and cognates (when appropriate). Able to read and
understand known language elements that have been recombined in new
ways to achieve different meanings at a similar level of simplicity.
Texts may include descriptions of persons, places or things: and
explanations of geography and government such as those simplified
for tourists. Some misunderstandings possible on simple texts. Can
get some main ideas and locate prominent items of professional significance
in more complex texts. Can identify general subject matter in some
1+ (Elementary Proficiency, Plus) Sufficient comprehension to understand simple
discourse in printed form for informative social purposes. Can read
material such as announcements of public events, simple prose containing
biographical information or narration of events, and straightforward
newspaper headlines. Can guess at unfamiliar vocabulary if highly
contextualized, but with difficulty in unfamiliar contexts. Can get
some main ideas and locate routine information of professional significance
in more complex texts. Can follow essential points of written discussion
at an elementary level on topics in his/her special professional
field. In commonly taught languages, the individual
may not control the structure well. For example, basic grammatical
relations are often misinterpreted, and temporal reference may rely
primarily on lexical items as time indicators. Has some difficulty
with the cohesive factors in discourse, such as matching pronouns
with referents. May have to read materials several times for understanding.
2 (Limited Working Proficiency) Sufficient comprehension to read simple, authentic
written material in a form equivalent to usual printing or typescript
on subjects within a familiar context. Able to read with some misunderstandings
straightforward, familiar, factual material, but in general insufficiently
experienced with the language to draw inferences directly from the
linguistic aspects of the text. Can locate and understand the main
ideas and details in material written for the general reader. However,
persons who have professional knowledge of a subject may be able
to summarize or perform sorting and locating tasks with written texts
that are well beyond their general proficiency level. The individual
can read uncomplicated, but authentic prose on familiar subjects
that are normally presented in a predictable sequence which aids
the reader in understanding. Texts may include descriptions and narrations
in contexts such as news items describing frequently occurring events,
simple biographical information, social notices, formulaic business
letters, and simple technical material written for the general reader.
Generally the prose that can be read by the individual is predominantly
in straightforward/high-frequency sentence patterns. The individual
does not have a broad active vocabulary (that is, which he/she recognizes
immediately on sight), but is able to use contextual and real-world
cues to understand the text. Characteristically, however, the individual
is quite slow in performing such a process. Is typically able to
answer factual questions about authentic texts of the types described
2+ (Limited Working Proficiency, Plus) Sufficient comprehension to understand most
factual material in non-technical prose as well as some discussions
on concrete topics related to special professional interests. Is
markedly more proficient at reading materials on a familiar topic.
Is able to separate the main ideas and details from lesser ones and
uses that distinction to advance understanding. The individual is
able to use linguistic context and real-world knowledge to make sensible
guesses about unfamiliar material. Has a broad active reading vocabulary.
The individual is able to get the gist of main and subsidiary ideas
in texts which could only be read thoroughly by persons with much
higher proficiencies. Weaknesses include slowness, uncertainty, inability
to discern nuance and/or intentionally disguised meaning.
3 (General Professional Proficiency) Able to read within a normal range of speed
and with almost complete comprehension a variety of authentic prose
material on unfamiliar subjects. Reading ability is not dependent
on subject matter knowledge, although it is not expected that the
individual can comprehend thoroughly subject matter which is highly
dependent on cultural knowledge or which is outside his/her general
experience and not accompanied by explanation. Text-types include
news stories similar to wire service reports or international news
items in major periodicals, routine correspondence, general reports,
and technical material in his/her professional field; all of these
may include hypothesis, argumentation and supported opinions. Misreading
rare. Almost always able to interpret material correctly, relate
ideas and "read between the lines," (that is, understand the writers'
implicit intents in text of the above types). Can get the gist of
more sophisticated texts, but may be unable to detect or understand
subtlety and nuance. Rarely has to pause over or reread general vocabulary.
However, may experience some difficulty with unusually complex structure
and low frequency idioms.
3+ (General Professional Proficiency, Plus) Can comprehend a variety of styles and forms
pertinent to professional needs. Rarely misinterprets such texts
or rarely experiences difficulty relating ideas or making inferences.
Able to comprehend many sociolinguistic and cultural references.
However, may miss some nuances and subtleties. Able to comprehend
a considerable range of intentionally complex structures, low frequency
idioms, and uncommon connotative intentions, however, accuracy is
not complete. The individual is typically able to read with facility,
understand, and appreciate contemporary expository, technical or
literary texts which do not rely heavily on slang and unusual items.
4 (Advanced Professional Proficiency) Able to read fluently and accurately all styles
and forms of the language pertinent to professional needs. The individual's
experience with the written language is extensive enough that he/she
is able to relate inferences in the text to real-world knowledge
and understand almost all sociolinguistic and cultural references.
Able to "read beyond the lines" (that is, to understand the full
ramifications of texts as they are situated in the wider cultural,
political, or social environment). Able to read and understand the
intent of writers' use of nuance and subtlety. The individual can
discern relationships among sophisticated written materials in the
context of broad experience. Can follow unpredictable turns of thought
readily in, for example, editorial, conjectural, and literary texts
in any subject matter area directed to the general reader. Can read
essentially all materials in his/her special field, including official
and professional documents and correspondence. Recognizes all professionally
relevant vocabulary known to the educated non-professional native,
although may have some difficulty with slang. Can read reasonably
legible handwriting without difficulty. Accuracy is often nearly
that of a well-educated native reader.
4+ (Advanced Professional Proficiency, Plus) Nearly native ability to read and understand
extremely difficult or abstract prose, a very wide variety of vocabulary,
idioms, colloquialisms and slang. Strong sensitivity to and understanding
of sociolinguistic and cultural references. Little difficulty in
reading less than fully legible handwriting. Broad ability to "read
beyond the lines" (that is, to understand the full ramifications
of texts as they are situated in the wider cultural, political, or
social environment) is nearly that of a well-read or well-educated
native reader. Accuracy is close to that of the well-educated native
reader, but not equivalent.
5 (Functionally Native Proficiency) Reading
proficiency is functionally equivalent to that of the well-educated
native reader. Can read extremely difficult and abstract prose;
for example, general legal and technical as well as highly colloquial
writings. Able to read literary texts, typically including contemporary
avant-garde prose, poetry and theatrical writing. Can read classical/archaic
forms of literature with the same degree of facility as the well-educated,
but non-specialist native. Reads and understands a wide variety
of vocabulary and idioms, colloquialisms, slang, and pertinent
cultural references. With varying degrees of difficulty, can read
all kinds of handwritten documents. Accuracy of comprehension is
equivalent to that of a well-educated native reader.