Proficiency in Foreign Language Notation
A student who has studied a foreign language at Stanford and demonstrates levels of achievement equivalent to those expected at the end of the third year of study in language may apply for the Proficiency Notation, which is a notation of “Proficiency in [that language]" on the official transcript, along with an official certificate of language proficiency from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Successful candidates tend to have completed the third year or beyond of language study at Stanford and spent time studying abroad in the foreign language.
In order to receive the proficiency notation, the student should complete the following oral and written requirements according to the suggested timetable below (language majors, see notes with asterisks). The notation is available only for languages where external assessment is offered through Language Testing International. Successful completion of the oral component is required before proceeding with the writing component.
Two quarters prior to graduation: Application and Oral Component*
- Use the online form (link at the bottom of this page) to request an official Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI).
- Since this is a formal interview conducted according to national academic and professional standards, at least two weeks of lead time are essential for scheduling the OPI.
- Be sure to list at least two 3-hour blocks of time you are available (on separate dates) starting two weeks from the request date.
- Complete the 30-minute Oral Proficiency Interview as scheduled through the Language Center and conducted by a certified OPI tester. The interview should take place no later than one quarter prior to graduation. **
- Receive an official rating of Advanced Low or higher on the Foreign Service Institute/American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (FSI/ACTFL) scale of oral proficiency, except in the non-cognate languages which require a minimum rating of Intermediate High. Students who do not meet the minimum level for the notation will nonetheless receive an official OPI rating/certificate, which carries national recognition of their oral proficiency.
One quarter prior to graduation: Writing Component
- Once approved to continue with the writing component, schedule a Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) through the Language Center. As an official writing assessment, the 90-minute exam should take place as soon as possible after the interview. The WPT is administered at the Language Center (or online during COVID-19) and is rated by a certified WPT rater.
- Receive an official rating of Advanced Low or higher on the Foreign Service Institute/American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (FSI/ACTFL) scale of oral and writing proficiency, except in the non-cognate languages which require a minimum rating of Intermediate High. Students who do not meet the minimum levels for the notation will nonetheless receive an official WPT rating, which carries national recognition of their oral and writing proficiencies.
- Both oral and written components should be completed by the beginning of the graduating quarter, or very soon after, in order to complete the process in time.
*DLCL language majors should start the process by scheduling their OPI in winter quarter, if graduating in spring (or earlyin their graduation quarter).
**For DLCL majors, this step in the process (the OPI) is satisfied by your exit OPI (required for most language majors) if you score Advanced Low or higher (or Intermediate High, for non-cognate languages).
Proficiency Notation Timetable
Students are advised to follow this timetable, in order to allow time for the process to be completed. We understand that individual students' schedules and graduation plans may vary. Questions about the process and recommended timetable should be directed to languagecenter [at] stanford.edu (subject: Proficiency%20Notation) (languagecenter[at]stanford[dot]edu)
Graduating Spring/Summer: Apply in Autumn; oral proficiency interview (OPI) in Autumn/Winter; writing exam in Winter or early Spring
Graduating Autumn: Apply in Winter; oral proficiency interview (OPI) in Winter/Spring; writing exam in Spring or early Autumn
Graduating Winter: Apply in Spring; oral proficiency interview (OPI) in Spring/Autumn; writing exam in Autumn or early Winter
Apply for the Proficiency in Foreign Language Notation here: https://forms.gle/UJjit81bPtcXpUEt9