Testing Committee - FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

"Who is the ILR testing committee?"
"When and where does the ILR testing committee meet?"
“Where can I take an ILR test?”
“’What is a proficiency test?”
“How do I prepare for a proficiency test?”
“What is the ILR Scale?”
“I’m a native speaker. Why aren’t I considered to be Level 5 in my native language?”


Who is the ILR Testing Committee?

The ILR Testing Committee is open to any member of the ILR community.  The chair and co-chair of the committee are government language testing professionals.  Anyone interested in language testing is welcome to attend the committee meetings.  Regular attendees include representatives from across the federal government, not-for-profits, language industry, and academia.  Contact the ILR testing committee to join and receive regular notices of the meeting topics. If you are not already on the general ILR list to receive the ILR invitations and registration information, please follow THESE instructions. You MUST register each month to attend the ILR meetings.


"When and where does the ILR Testing Committee meet?"

Meetings are held from September until June in conjunction with the regularly scheduled ILR meetings. The ILR Testing Committee meets each month prior to the plenary from 8:45 am until 10 am. The primary location is at the State Department National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, VA. When the ILR meets at other venues (for example, in conjunction with the East Coast Organization of Language Testers Conference (ECOLT) or Department of Education), the Testing Committee convenes in those locations.

"Where can I take an ILR test?"

The answer is:  We’re sorry, there is no “ILR test”.  The ILR as an entity does not develop or administer tests itself.  Many government agencies refer to the ILR Skill Level Descriptions but their tests are administered only within the government context and they are not available to private citizens.

To help you develop a sense of your own ILR proficiency level, the ILR Testing Committee has developed self assessments based upon the ILR scale.  Click HERE to access these self assessments, and please also visit the RESOURCES link  for other assessment related projects.

"What is a proficiency test?"

A proficiency test .. Across the US government, there are a wide variety of proficiency tests in use.  For example, within the Department of Defense, the Defense Language Proficiency Test is the test of record.  To learn more about the DLPT, visit the Defense Language Institute website http://www.dliflc.edu/dlptguides.html

There are other types of tests, too.  Many US Government agencies assess aptitude, that is a test that measures your talent for learning a language.   Language schools give achievement tests to measure how well a student has learned the content covered in a classroom.  For more information about types of tests, please visit the Fundamentals of Language Assessment tutorial on the CAL website: http://www.cal.org/flad/tutorial/index.htmlBack to Top


"How do I prepare for a proficiency test?"

Language proficiency points to examinees’ ability to USE language learned under various conditions for a practical purpose. There is no specific test preparation technique apart from using the language within the specific skill that is being tested.

"What is the ILR Scale?"

The ILR Scale describes a functional ability to use the language.  There are 11 levels, ranging from Level 0 (No functional ability) up to Level 5 (functionally equivalent to a highly articulate well educated native speaker).  To learn more about the ILR Skill Level Descriptions, please see the ILR 101 presentation.

"I’m a native speaker. Why aren’t I considered to be Level 5 in my native language?”

This question  was the subject of a 2010 ILR Plenary and the 2010 ECOLT ILR Testing Committee panel.  The ILR scale describes functional ability in the language – it is not a reflection of identity.  Native speakers and non-native speakers have a range of ability, the ILR scale is one way to describe that proficiency.

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