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Levels of Foreign Language KnowledgeWe use a four-level language rating system which provides a clear indication of a student’s verbal skills and grammar knowledge characterized by each level (0 – 4.0). An exact and objective definition of the student’s starting level can be found and makes it possible to plan a program taking into account the student’s skills and which suits the student best.
Level of Understanding – 1.0 At this level the tested student usually understands most of the questions if they are asked in a clear and slow manner. However, there is often some misunderstanding which requires the question to be repeated. The student is often overly tense so as to be able to ask the tester some questions on his own, however with a little push he starts to construct the main questions. The student understands and uses basic verbs in the present tense and to a lesser extent can use the regular forms of the past and future tenses. The student’s general vocabulary is very limited, however knows quite a number of words which are connected with his professional activities. The student usually speaks with a strong accent and his pronunciation is poor but can cope in simple, every-day situations.
Level of Interaction – 2.0 The student has to listen carefully in order to understand the questions he is asked and at times has difficulty understanding. Nevertheless, the student can use the language more freely and is able to express what he wants to say. He still makes small mistakes in many sentences, however in general his syntax is relatively correct. The student can string sentences together and has a solid knowledge of both every-day English and vocabulary from his professional activities. The student often speaks with bad pronunciation, a strong accent and incorrect intonation. At this level the student often waives clear speech for faster speaking or has serious doubts about how to say something correctly. The student can cope with one-to-one conversations, however has difficulties in socializing with a group of native speakers.
Level of Collaboration – 3.0 The student still has to concentrate but generally has no difficulty in understanding the questions. He explains himself easily with a minimum of mistakes. The student has a strong vocabulary base although at times grapples for the right word or expression. He can freely express his thoughts in a grammatical manner in varied social groups. He speaks clearly, can understand native speakers and speaks with them confidently.
Level of Partnership – 4.0 The student speaks fluently, answers in detail and often gives additional information. He poses questions by himself. He makes very few grammar mistakes and can use idiomatic expressions with ease.
Progress in the Language Level Scale Each of the four levels is broken down into four sub-divisions or four quarters (for example, 0.5 to 0.75). From our experience a student needs around 160 academic hours to go from a complete beginner to attaining a 1.0 level. Progress after attaining the level of 1.0 can slow down: the student needs to broaden his vocabulary and have long periods of speaking practice so as to improve the spontaneity, fluency, clarity and speed of his speech. Many different factors influence the student’s progress but it’s an accepted fact that around 50 academic hours are needed to improve a student’s overall level of speaking by 0.25.
We wish you the greatest of success –
May the scale of your language level be the scale of your progress!