The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview, or OPI, is a live, 20-30 minute telephone conversation between a certified ACTFL tester and the student. It is a valid and reliable test that measures how well a person speaks a language.

The procedure is standardized in order to assess global speaking ability, measuring language production holistically by determining patterns of strengths and weaknesses.

An OPI can be requested on the ACTFL scale or the Inter-Agency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale. An ACTFL OPI will rate between Novice and Superior on the ACTFL scale. An ILR OPI will rate between ILR 0 (No Proficiency) and ILR 5 (Functionally Native).

The OPI assesses language proficiency in terms of the ability to use the language effectively and appropriately in real-life situations. It does not address when, where, why, or the way in which a speaker has acquired his/her language.

The OPI is not an achievement test assessing a speaker’s acquisition of specific aspects of course and curriculum content, nor is it tied to any specific method of instruction. The OPI does not compare one individual’s performance to others, but each individual performance to the assessment criteria.