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Languages and Cultures


Contact Languages and Cultures  

Languages and Cultures

224 Mitchell Hall
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-2700
Fax: 610-436-3048

Dr. Mahmoud Amer
Acting Chair July 2016-June 2017

OPI and WPT Exams

The Undergraduate Student Handbook (see on the tabs to the left) contains information about the OPI and WPT tests that every language major has to complete at the 300 and 400 level coursework.

The OPI and WPT tests are provided by the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) to assess students' oral and written proficiency in the target language. Students are expected to reach Intermediate High (IH) at the 300 level and Advanced Low (AL) in the 400 level, for both the OPI and the WPT.

When scheduled to take these exams, students MUST show up at the scheduled date, time and place.

Check the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines

OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview)

The OPI is a telephone-based exam that will take between 20 and 35 minutes to complete (more often about 25). The interviewer will explain each part of the exam in English regardless of the specific language being tested and whether the student is a native speaker. The rest of the conversation will be in the target language. The OPI will introduce a series of topics throughout the conversation. The candidate dictates, up to a certain point, where the conversation will go.

The usual OPI conversation will begin by a brief introduction, followed by a question about the candidate's interests. From that point on, there can be a series of questions asking the candidate to describe something (town, university, major), emphasizing the use of the present tense; followed by another part in which the student will have to retell something that happened to them in the past (focus on the past tenses). If that goes well, candidates may expect to be asked their opinion on some topic or hypothetical situation, usually related to their personal background (professional or sociocultural), which will prompt them to use advanced grammatical constructions in the target language (e.g., conditionals) as well as abstract, possibly rare, vocabulary (e.g., aspect, nuance, facet). Every OPI conversation will include, as well, a section that will involve role playing.

Oral Proficiency Assessment

WPT (Writing Proficiency Test)

The WPT is a paper or computer-based exam that takes about 90 minutes to complete. Instructions for each part of the exam will be in English, but answers will have to be given fully in the target language. At the start of the exam, the candidates will be asked to a) provide personal information (they should answer in the target language) and b) check a number of topics, interests, and sociocultural questions that will be used to select a number of topics to write about. Candidates will have to select a minimum number of options, so it is a good idea that they go online and read about topics of their interest in the target language some weeks before the exam. Keeping a journal about these topics will help develop writing skills. Each new WPT topic will be more complex than the preceding one. Candidates will be asked to describe, discuss something in the past, write a letter or an opinion that offers a solution, and examine a topic in depth. It is possible that some students won't have time to complete each assignment. It is important that students pay attention to the assigned time for each task.

Writing Proficiency Assessment

Remedial Plan

If a student does not reach the expected score in the OPI and WPT tests, their faculty advisor will create a Remedial Plan in order to help the student reach that score when retaking the exams.

Faculty members can access the Remedial Plan information on Sharepoint.