English as a foreign/second language, oral proficiency


This study profiled Intermediate-level learners in terms of their linguistic characteristics and performance on different proficiency tasks. A stratified random sample of 300 Korean learners of English with holistic ratings of Intermediate Low (IL), Intermediate Mid (IM), and Intermediate High (IH) on Oral Proficiency Interviews- computerized (OPIcs)—100 at each level—were analyzed by trained ACTFL raters to determine what was needed for the learners to progress to the next higher sublevel. The findings indicate that while ILs minimally met all the linguistic characteristics required of the Intermediate level, they needed to improve in the quantity and quality of all the linguistic characteristics they employed and improve their mastery of the types and variety of questions they could use when performing Intermediate tasks to move to the IM sublevel. In contrast, IMs demonstrated a pattern of strength when completing Intermediate tasks, but to move to the IH sublevel they needed to improve their ability to perform all Advanced-level tasks, especially in terms of accuracy when using paragraph-length discourse. Similar to the IMs, for the IHs to move to the Advanced Low sublevel, they needed to improve their accuracy with paragraph-length discourse and expand their content mastery to beyond the autobiographical.

Original Publication Citation

Cox, T. (2017) Understanding Intermediate-level Speakers Strengths and Weaknesses: An Examination of OPIc Tests from Korean Learners of English. Foreign Language Annals, 50(1), XX-XX

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Foreign Language Annals







University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor