New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards

World Languages

New Jersey World Languages Regional Testing/Training Centers
New Jersey City University (Northern)
Rutgers University-New Brunswick (Central)
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (Southern)

The New Jersey World Languages Regional Testing/Training Centers provide locations that offer preparation for and administration of the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). The OPI is an assessment of speaking ability required for all teacher candidates seeking certification in world languages in New Jersey.   The centers were established to facilitate the completion of the proficiency requirement for students enrolled in state-approved teacher preparation programs. 

Location and Contact Information for the Regional Testing/Training Centers:

New Jersey City University
Department of Modern Languages
Karnoutsos Hall - 204
2039 Kennedy Boulevard
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Contact person: Dr. Grisel Lopez-Diaz
Contact phone number: 201-200-2000 X 3176
Contact email: glopezdiaz@njcu.edu
Directions: http://www.njcu.edu/12e/visit/directions.asp

Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Language Institute/College Avenue Language Lab
20 Seminary Place, Room 101
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1108
Contact person: Daissy Santamaria
Contact phone number: 732-932-7373
Contact email: santamar@langlab.rutgers.edu
Directions: http://maps.rutgers.edu/directions/nb.aspx

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Carnegie Library Center
35 South Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Atlantic City, NJ  08401
Directions to Carnegie Library Center: http://intraweb.stockton.edu/eyos/page.cfm?siteID=28&pageID=7
Contact person: Dr Arnaldo Cordero Roman
Contact phone number: 609-626-6048
Contact email: corderoa@stockton.edu
Directions to Pomona Campus: http://intraweb.stockton.edu/eyos/page.cfm?siteID=94&pageID=4

Fully trained staff is available at each center to:

  • Conduct orientation sessions at designated times during the year.  These sessions include live or video-recorded segments of the ACTFL OPI that will familiarize teacher candidates with the test and test-taking procedures followed by a question and answer period;
  • Provide optimal testing environments and authorized proctors for taking a telephonic OPI conducted by a certified ACTFL Interviewer according to ACTFL regulations; and
  • Organize and host ACTFL OPI Tester Training Workshops for P-16 world language educators/supervisors, college faculty and individuals seeking ACTFL OPI Tester Training. The workshops will be held annually at different centers.

FAQs about the ACTFL OPI Assessment:

What is the proficiency requirement for certification in world languages in New Jersey?
In order to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (CE) or Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS), all candidates for certification in world languages are required to demonstrate a minimum proficiency level of Advanced-Low on the ACTFL OPI for all languages except for languages that use characters, such as, Arabic and Chinese where a minimum proficiency of Intermediate-High is required. Teacher candidates seeking certification through the Alternate Route Program must take the ACTFL OPI in order to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility.

What is ACTFL? 
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is the only national organization dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages at all levels of instruction.  ACTFL is an individual membership organization of more than 7,000 foreign language educators and administrators from elementary through graduation education, as well as government and industry.  ACTFL is the author of the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and the developer of the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). For additional   information about ACTFL, visit: http://www.actfl.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3274.  

What is the ACTFL OPI?
The OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview), administered under the auspices of Language Testing International, is an assessment of functional speaking ability in the form of a carefully structured conversation between a trained and certified interviewer and the person whose speaking proficiency is being assessed.  The test is an internationally recognized, valid and reliable measure that is used to identify the proficiency level of the speaker of the language.  The range of levels includes: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Superior, with the additional gradations of Low, Mid, and High for all levels except Superior. For more detailed information about the ACTFL OPI, go to: http://www.actfl.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3348.

The OPI is administered as a telephonic interview that can be easily arranged at any of New Jersey’s Regional Testing/Training Centers.

When should teacher candidates take the OPI?
It is recommended that the Official ACTFL OPI be taken no later than the fall semester of a student’s third (or junior) year. An optimum time to take an OPI is following an extended immersion experience in the target language. OPI trained instructors should also encourage sophomore year students who already demonstrate Advanced level speaking proficiency to take an Official OPI during their sophomore year.

If a teacher candidate does not achieve the required NJDOE rating of Advanced-Low on the OPI, that person is strongly advised to request OPI Diagnostic Comments from Language Testing International. OPI Diagnostic Comments outline which of the Advanced level criteria were not met, provide a thorough analysis of the student’s performance and communicate important information that can be used by both the student and professors/instructors at the college/university to fashion an appropriate plan of instruction to improve the candidate’s proficiency level.  There is an additional fee for these comments.

After a period of additional language instruction and exposure to the language, the teacher candidate may apply for a retest to determine if the Advanced Low level has been achieved. Another official ACTFL OPI or an abbreviated OPI – the “Advanced Level Check” – are options for retesting. (The Advanced Level Check establishes proficiency up to the Advanced- Low level only and the rating assigned is either Advanced/Qualified or Advanced/Not Qualified.) The scheduling of the retest should occur no later than the fall semester of the senior year. For more detailed information about retesting, go to: http://www.languagetesting.com/download/retest policy2.pdf).

How does a teacher candidate register to take the ACTFL OPI?
The ACTFL Testing Office, Language Testing International (LTI), is responsible for scheduling all tests and issuing ACTFL ratings and OPI certificates.  Candidates for certification must register to take the OPI and the Advanced Level Check through LTI’s Web site: www.languagetesting.com/acad_to_apply.htm. 

What are the fees associated with the ACTFL Testing:
The costs for the OPI assessments are as follows:

  • An Official ACTFL OPI administered telephonically is $134.00.
  • OPI Diagnostic Comments, a written evaluation of  a candidate’s performance on an ACTFL OPI is $75.00
  • The Official ACTFL Advanced Level Check administered telephonically is $85.00
    (This retest option will be available as of December 2006)

Payment of fees is made at the time of registration using the LTI Web site.

When are orientation sessions and OPI tests offered, and how do students register for use of the centers’ services?
Teacher candidates wishing to avail themselves of the centers’ services should contact the center nearest to their college/university or place of residence to find out when orientation sessions and OPI testing will be held as well as where these events will take place on each regional center campus. 

Actual administration of the Official OPI and/or the Advanced Level Check will differ from center to center:

  • New Jersey City University - The center is designated as an ACTFL official test site and tests are regularly scheduled on Monday-Thursday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Rutgers University-New Brunswick - Tests can be given year-round, but candidates must schedule the test in advance. 
  • Richard Stockton College of New Jersey - Tests can be given year-round, but candidates must schedule the test in advance.

The centers charge a modest fee for each candidate to cover the costs for the testing room, the phone card, and personnel to proctor the OPI.  This fee is separate from the fee for the OPI. For specific information about fees and methods of payment, candidates should contact the testing center nearest to them.
 
Who will report the results of the OPI assessment to NJDOE and how? 
Test candidates are given a unique ID and directed to an LTI website for test-takers to access their ACTFL OPI test result and print an ACTFL OPI Certificate.

Once the candidate has completed the OPI and the proficiency level is assigned, the Office of Licensing will access test scores through a special site created for the NJDOE by Language Testing International.  OPI test scores are automatically posted to this secure site, unless the candidate or the University provides specific instructions NOT to release the rating to the NJDOE.  Staff from the students’ college or university will not need to report this information to the NJDOE.

Special institute accounts on the Language Testing International Website can be established to enable colleges and universities to view their students’ OPI ratings.  For more information on establishing such a procedure and account, please contact Helen Hamlyn at Language Testing International, 914- 963-7110 Ext.4, or Hamlyn@languagetesting.com

What is the role of the regional centers regarding OPI Tester Training?
In addition to offering facilities where the ACTFL OPI can be administered to teacher candidates under optimal testing conditions and where they can attend orientation sessions to prepare them for the OPI, the New Jersey World Languages Regional Testing/Training Centers also collaborate with ACTFL to sponsor OPI Tester Training for NJ professionals.  Teachers of world languages at all levels, elementary through college/university, are eligible to participate in ACTFL OPI Tester Training. This is a very important aspect of the Centers’ work, because it will provide instructors with the background and expertise they will need to design proficiency-based instructional programs for their world languages students.  This is also an important mechanism to build a cadre of ACTFL Certified OPI Testers in the state.  

What is the ACTFL OPI Tester Training Workshop?
The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Tester Training Workshop is an intensive four-day introduction to the techniques of administering and rating candidates’ performance on the Oral Proficiency Interview.  The rating scale and techniques for eliciting a ratable sample from a candidate are highlighted in daily plenary sessions and then reinforced in language-specific break-out sessions.  Participants have the opportunity to observe live or video-recorded demonstration interviews. Under the trainer’s supervision, participants conduct practice interviews with volunteer candidates.  The group critiques and discusses both the practice interviews and their ratings. 

Following the workshop, participants are eligible to apply for the ACTFL Tester Certification. In order to be recommended for ACTFL OPI Tester Certification the OPI Tester Trainee must successfully complete the post-workshop ACTFL OPI Tester Certification requirements and be rated a Superior level speaker of the certification language. For more information on ACTFL OPI Tester Certification, go to http://www.actfltraining.org/actfl_ct_info.cfm.

When is the next Tester Training and Certification Workshop being held?
Workshops will be conducted annually on a rotating schedule at one of the Centers.  The next workshop will be held at New Jersey City University from Tuesday, May 15 through Friday, May 18, 2007. There is a special reduced rate of $700 for the training workshop and the certification application. This represents a substantial savings from the regular registration and certification fees. More specific information can be obtained by contacting the New Jersey City University Center using the information given above.