Spanish, language proficiency, oral proficiency, postsecondary


While studies have been done to rate the validity and reliability of the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Oral Proficiency Interview–Computer (OPIc) independently, a limited amount of research has analyzed the interexam reliability of these tests, and studies have yet to be conducted comparing the results of Spanish language learners who take both exams. For this study, 154 Spanish language learners of various proficiency levels were divided into two groups and administered both the OPI and OPIc within a 2-week period using a counterbalanced design. In addition, study participants took both a pre- and postsurvey that gathered data about their language learning background, familiarity with the OPI and OPIc, preparation and test-taking strategies, and evaluations of each exam. The researchers found that 54.5% of the participants received the same rating on the OPI and OPIc, with 13.6% of examinees scoring higher on the OPI and 31.8% scoring higher on the OPIc. While the results found that students scored significantly better on the OPIc, the overall effect size was quite small. The authors also found that the overwhelming majority of the participants preferred the OPI to the OPIc. This research begins to fill important gaps and provides empirical data to examine the comparability of the Spanish OPI and OPIc.

Original Publication Citation

Thompson, G., Cox, T. & Knapp, N. (2016) Comparing the OPI and the OPIc: The effect of test method on oral proficiency scores and student preferences. Foreign Language Annals, 49(1), 75-92

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Foreign Language Annals







University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor