In order to be classified at a certain level, one should be able to successfully handle the situations mentioned in part or in the full explanation of the level using complete sentences with correct sentence structure. Each description covers two levels, which are close in range. After reading these proficiency level descriptions, please go back to the group webpage of the language you are interested in taking and read the detailed course description matching your current proficiency level. This information should help you determine your placement in a group. By being as accurate and honest about your abilities as much as possible, you may correctly place yourself in the right group within your ability range. Please note that some languages require substantial more time to achieve the same results as others. Some of these languages include Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin.

At the Basic 1 level, one has little or no ability in the target language. The student has little to no knowledge of the script or alphabet. One cannot form complete sentences even if he has some knowledge of vocabulary. Unable to function in the spoken language. At the Basic 2 level, one is able to operate in only limited capacity and is able to satisfy immediate needs with learned utterances. At this level the student has prior knowledge of the script or alphabet and of basic writing, vowels, etc.
At the Basic 3 level, one is able to satisfy basic survival needs and minimum courtesy requirements. Can manage brief exchanges in common situations, introduce people to each other and give basic facts about oneself. One can ask for someone or something over the telephone, give directions, and give simple orders. A person at this level can also use numbers, dates and times, thus making purchases and/or ordering a meal using simple vocabulary. At Basic 4 level or higher, one is able to satisfy most survival needs comfortably and most limited social demands.
At the Intermediate 1 level, one is able to understand and communicate in everyday situations such as asking and giving directions, setting up appointments, taking and leaving messages and making routine travel arrangements. One can also satisfy simple personal needs such as making purchases, coping with problems over the telephone, carrying out bank transactions, asking for the meaning of the word and write simple indications and instructions. At the Intermediate 2 level, one is able to speak the language with sufficient structural accuracy and vocabulary to participate effectively in most formal and informal conversations, although lacking the use of the more advanced grammar and compound verb tenses.
At the Intermediate 3 level, one can follow the meaning of a conversation about everyday subjects, give simple instructions in job-related situations, express agreement or disagreement, and make a complaint. One can make appointments and reservations, offer options, make and politely reply to invitations, rent something, offer someone help, explain a simple problem and give solutions in writing. At the Intermediate 4 level, one can easily write a fax or memo about familiar subjects or topics and engage successfully in discussions about them with native speakers with moderate self-confidence. Students at this level are familiar with advanced grammar and compound verb tenses.
At the pre-advanced level one is able to participate fully in simple conversations or discussion and explain the precise details of a project. One can also organize meetings, visits, etc. over the telephone, discuss the quality of a service provided, establish contacts and give advice. Can write and respond to letters, faxes, reports, memos and invitations. One can comprehend reading passages on familiar topics. However, at the pre-advanced level one still does not have full self-confidence in speaking or engaging in conversations with native speakers. On the other hand, students at the advanced level are able to speak confidently with a great deal of fluency, grammatical accuracy, precision of vocabulary and idiomaticity. Advanced students want to continue to expand their knowledge with specific regionalized versions of the language, and the use of specialized vocabulary, poetry or literature.
At this level one can speak like an educated native speaker. Private tutorials are required at this level. When registering, please describe your level and your specific goals in the language; for example, literature, poetry, culture, history, extensive creative reading and/or writing.


Please contact our Foreign Language Coordinator, Jane Edwards, at (202) 686-5610 ext. 105 or at [email protected].