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Language Proficiency Scales and Platiquemos Levels


What you can expect to achieve with Platiquemos
Below is a detailed comparison of how Platiquemos levels compare with the acknowledged standards, the FSI and ACTFL scales of proficiency. In order to see how you stand, take a free placement quiz to see which level of Platiquemos is right for you!

Language Proficiency Scales and Platiquemos Levels  -  Comparison Chart

Platiquemos/Pimsleur Comparison

Language Proficiency Scales and Platiquemos Levels

There are two language-speaking proficiency scales that are nationally recognlzed: The Interagency Roundtable Scale, developed by the Foreign Service Institute and still generally referred to as the FSI scale, and the ACTFL scale developed by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The ACTFL scale was based on the FSI scale, but more narrowly graduated at the lower levels to reflect the progress that can be expected of students in non-immersion situations. FSI 3, or ACTFL Superior are considered to be the levels of proficiency at which one can perform all functions in the other language, including conduct business or professional dealings, with sufficient accuracy to be effective. This level could be called "fluent", although "fluent" as it is often used can describe almost anything from 0+ to near bilingual. We have seen some other definitions based on percentages of total language proficiency, but the FSI and ACTFL scales are the accepted benchmarks. For those interested, you can access a detailed description of all the levels of the ACTFL scale by clicking here.

Below we have provided a chart with comparisons of the two scales, as well as a rough correspondence of where you can expect to be after completing each of the Platiquemos levels. Your actual accomplishment will vary a good deal depending primarily on how much time you invest. While it is true that some people seem to have a talent for learning languages, dedication and hard work are much more important. You should also be aware that proficiency measurements are based on the language as a whole, while a structured program of study by necessity divides the language into components. It is thus difficult to exactly equate proficiency with study levels; we have made the closest approximation we can.

We have included in our chart only the levels up to and including FSI's 3 and ACTFL's Superior. This is because these levels are in fact very high levels of proficiency, and about the best anybody can hope to achieve without prolonged exposure and use of the language. In fact, tested proficiency at the 3 level will qualify a person for any position in the U.S. Diplomatic Service which requires language proficiency. For most people, achieving the 3 or superior level itself is going to require spending at least a month or so in a country where Spanish is spoken, preferably in a structured environment using the same program you are used to working with. Diligent students, however, should be able to reach the 2 or even 2+ level without prolonged immersion in a Spanish-speaking country. In any case, we recommend that you begin your Spanish learning journey where you are, and try to achieve at least a 0+ or 1 before going abroad. This is simply a matter of efficiency: the more you know when you get into an immersion environment, the more you'll benefit from it.

Chart 1: Comparison of Platiquemos Levels with FSI and ACTFL Scales

8 3 Superior Able to speak Spanish with sufficient structural accuracy and vocabulary to participate effectively in most formal and informal conversations, including business and professional.
7. 8 2+ Advanced Plus Ability to satisfy most work requirements, and show some ability to communicate on concrete topics.
6, 7, 8 2 Advanced Ability to satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements.
4, 5, 6 1+ Intermediate High Able to satisfy most survival needs and limited social demands.
3, 4 1 Intermediate Mid Able to satisfy some survival needs and some limited social demands.
2, 3 1 Intermediate Low Able to satisfy basic survival needs and minimum courtesy requirements.
1, 2 0+ Novice High Able to satisfy immediate needs with learned utterances.
1 0+ Novice Mid Able to operate only in a very limited capacity.
None 0 Novice Low No knowledge at all. Where foreign language learning begins.