islPAL - International Society for Leadership in Pedagogy and Learning

Pedagogies and Learning

David Ingram, of ISLPR Services, Australia
(click on name to see website)

Focusing on Practical Proficiency: The Contribution of ISLPR to Language Testing, Policy-Making and Curriculum Development

D.E. Ingram, AM
ISLPR Language Services Pty Ltd
9 Gowrie Street
Mt Gravatt, Queensland, 4122



This paper discusses the notion of practical proficiency and the nature of the International Second Language Proficiency Ratings(ISLPR®), which is designed to measure it. The ISLPR is a long-established proficiency scale, which is applied in a testing procedure emphasising realistic use of the language and the candidate's practical ability. The scale describes the development of proficiency from zero to native-like. The test is interview-based and adaptive and so can be readily used to assess general proficiency, academic proficiency and proficiency in specified vocational or other special purpose contexts. As a scale reflecting the development of a second language from zero to native-like, it has a major contribution to make, not only proficiency assessment, but also to the specification of goals in such contexts as language policy-making. Since it traces the development of a second or foreign language, it is also useful in the  context of curriculum development, materials section and methodology since it indicates what a learner can do at any particular level and what types of activities may be most appropriate as the teacher plans activities to encourage the learner's on-going language development.