Japanese language teaching candidates must demonstrate Intermediate High proficiency to be recommended for licensure.

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) describes the proficiency levels using guidelines and samples including videos of speakers performing at different levels. For more information about why Intermediate High proficiency is required, view the frequently asked questions below. 

When should I take the proficiency test?

You will need to take the exam upon acceptance into the licensure program. Review the information below, and meet with your advisor before taking the exam.

For Japanese, there is one oral proficiency exam option, the ACTFL OPI, which is a telephone interview (the OPIc is not available for Japanese). More information about this test is available about the OPI on the ACTFL site, and in the FAQ book published by Language Testing International (LTI), the test administrator.

Once you are ready to schedule your OPI or OPIc, you will need to decide if you would prefer to take the exam on campus or remotely. If you prefer to take the exam remotely, you can proceed to sign up for the exam with the remote proctoring system provided by LTI. This service does incur a small fee. If you would like to take the exam on campus, please email altec@colorado.edu to determine a date and time that is suitable for all parties. When this has been decided, you may proceed to sign up for your exam, following these instructions:

  1. Navigate to Language Testing International.
  2. Select your language (Japanese).
  3. Click on "Search for your institution or school program" in the top right of the page.
  4. When asked if you are testing for State Teacher Certification, click "Yes".
  5. Select "Colorado" for the state, enter "University of Colorado - Boulder" for the institution, and select "Japanese" for the language.
  6. Select the ACTFL OPI.
  7. For the proctor, select "University of Colorado Boulder".
  8. Select "Mountain Time" in the Time Zone box then enter two dates and time ranges when you are available to take the exam. These dates will be used to assign a tester to you for the OPI.
  9. Complete the remaining questions with your personal information.

The first exam will be internal. If you reach Intermediate High at the first exam, you can request the Academic Institutional Upgrade (Question #6 Option 2).

What do I do if I don't score Intermediate High on the first exam?

If you do not achieve the minimum language proficiency the first time you take the test, you, with your advisor, will need to devise a plan for achieving the minimum required proficiency prior to student teaching.

You can take the second exam through LTI. Once you are ready to retake the OPI, please contact ALTEC.

How can I prepare for the test?

Studying and using your Japanese will improve your skills and test score. Understanding the test can also reduce your anxiety and possibly help improve your score.

JoAnn Hammadou Sullivan's article "Taking Charge: Teacher Candidates' Preparation for the Oral Proficiency Interview" (Foreign Language Annals 44, no. 2, summer 2011, pp. 241-257) reveals that successful candidates read more target language newspapers and literature for pleasure, watched more target language movies and television shows, wrote more letters in the target language and practiced more with native speakers than unsuccessful candidates. These candidates also reported that they spent 19 hours per week outside of class using the target language, whereas non-successful candidates spent only 6 hours per week using the target language.

Web resources for practice

Oral proficiency development suggestions from SUNY-Oswego's teacher preparation program.

SUNY-Oswego's suggestions for when you take the test.