Russian Language Journal


foreign, language, non-native, non-heritage


The ILR Descriptions – Speaking and the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines – Speaking trace their genesis to an oral proficiency assessment system first developed at the Foreign Service Institute in the 1950s to assess “foreign language users’ abilities according to a consistent scale.” The original purpose was clearly aimed at assessing the abilities of non-­‐‑native, non-­‐‑heritage adult foreign language learners, and this genesis is still reflected in the current ILR Descriptions and the ACTFL Guidelines. However, tools based on these descriptions/guidelines are increasingly being used to assess the abilities of language users who are not what we would consider to be “learners” of the “foreign” language being tested, but rather, who have commonly been described as “native” or “heritage.”