The Bulgarian School of Seattle has a mutual service agreement with ALTA testing authorities for administrating the language proficiency tests nationwide. Such proficiency testing is an alternate way to seek the World Language High School credit in respect of obtaining the Seal of Biliteracy award. The written and oral assessments accurately reflect the mid high proficiency range as measured by ACTFL standards.
Students living in many different states across the United States may apply for establishing the Bulgarian Language Competency Testing ALTA. Tests must take place on public district site in ALL of the following states:
DESCRIPTION OF TEST TYPES
ALTA Writing Proficiency: This test will be sent via a confidential email along with the proctoring instructions. It must be administered on district site. The test consists of five requests for a written response in the target language. The written test requires the candidate to demonstrate what he or she can do with the language in its written form through the performance of various tasks (writing a letter, giving an opinion, describing a rule of procedure), as well as how well he or she uses and controls the language (ex: grammatical structures, spelling/character selection). The candidate simply writes his or her response to each question in the space provided. At the end of the test, it is collected and sent back to the Bulgarian School of Seattle for scoring. The evaluator (aka ALTA Testing Services) scores the writing based on expression, understanding of the given topics, grammar, vocabulary and spelling, and an overall score is assigned. This score along with comments is sent to the district officials within two business days.
The cost of the test is $120.
ALTA Speaking and Listening (IVR): ALTA delivers this assessment via an automated, interactive voice response (IVR) system. The IVR system of assessments allows the Bulgarian School of Seattle to register the students through and generates access codes for the candidates to enter when calling for the test. By entering this access code, candidates are able to access test content, which is delivered automatically. One question is selected at random from a pool of similar questions, focusing on a particular linguistic task (e.g. narrating in the past tense), and the recorded question is played for the candidate. The candidate is given a specific period of time to respond to the question posed, and the response is digitally recorded. This sequence continues for the remainder of the test, or until all questions have been delivered to the candidate. The candidate is instructed to hang up the phone, at which point the file containing the questions and the responses is sent to a human evaluator for scoring. The evaluator scores the candidate’s performance according to the ILR performance scale. The results are returned to the district the following business day. The cost of the test is $100.
There are a few factors to consider as you decide when to take the test. Candidates should have at least two years of strong language preparation, provided by the Bulgarian School of Seattle, the more the better! The Bulgarian School of Seattle students who passed the test previous years have received the highest score (Advanced High/Superior).
The ALTA preparation courses at the Bulgarian School of Seattle are available ONLINE. Candidates are likely not to do as well if they take the test after they haven’t been in a Bulgarian class for several months, or have not taken any Bulgarian language classes.
If I am not satisfied with my results, can I retest? If so, how soon? Yes, you can retest. Usually it’s best to wait at least one school year before retesting.
GENERAL PREFACE TO THE ACTFL PROFICIENCY GUIDELINES
The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines are a description of what individuals can do with language in terms of speaking, writing, listening, and reading in real-world situations in a spontaneous and non-rehearsed context. For each skill, these guidelines identify five major levels of proficiency: Distinguished, Superior, Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice. The major levels Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice are subdivided into High, Mid, and Low sublevels. The levels of the ACTFL Guidelines describe the continuum of proficiency from that of the highly articulate, well-educated language user to a level of little or no functional ability.
These Guidelines present the levels of proficiency as ranges, and describe what an individual can and cannot do with language at each level, regardless of where, when, or how the language was acquired. Together these levels form a hierarchy in which each level subsumes all lower levels. The Guidelines are not based on any particular theory, pedagogical method, or educational curriculum. They neither describe how an individual learns a language nor prescribe how an individual should learn a language, and they should not be used for such purposes. They are an instrument for the evaluation of functional language ability.
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