ACTFL’s AAPPL exam

I’m in the computer lab proctoring day two of the AAPPL and I thought it might be a good time to spread the word about this test! It is available at AAPPL.actfl.org in demo form for several languages. The demo is long! You really get a feel for what’s on the test!!

The test costs $20 for a full exam or in sections you can buy interpersonal speaking for 10, presentational writing for 5 and listening and reading for 5. Listening and reading results are available immediately and speaking/writing come back quickly (a day sometimes) during low season and in 2-3 weeks during the high season March-May! It’s an economical way to see how your students are performing!!!

How do I use the AAPPL? In IL we offer a seal of Biliteracy. To earn the seal, students have to reach intermediate high level proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking. We are not an AP school AND seniors taking AP don’t have the scores back in time to qualify for the seal!!! This test is a great and cheap solution! Intermediate high is a score of i4 or i5 on all sections of the exam.

Spanish club did a fundraiser and paid $5 to test all Spanish 4 students in reading and listening (great evidence of growth for my type 1 assessment) and those who wanted to pay $15 took the speaking and listening after school yesterday and today.

Pointers:
It’s long and they get tired and scores go down if you try to test all 4 sections in 1 day! Break it into two and collect their log in information so there’s no funny business!

Remember to look (with the kids) at ACTFLs proficiency levels! They need to KNOW what makes he difference between IL IM and IH!

On the listening section be sure they know that they CAN re-listen if they need to but they shouldn’t do it just to recheck their answers because replaying over and over is an indicator that they don’t understand!

Make sure they understand that NATIONALLY about 90% of students who study 4 years of language fall in the NH/IL category so IM scores are amazing!!! Now these statistics are changing… Thomas Sauer said that with better focus on using language in the classroom, scores are coming up!! Keep that CI flowing and we can create a generation of language learners who don’t say he dreaded “I took four years of….” You know what I mean! 🙂

Reply with any questions you have about the test!!

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at gmail.com.

15 thoughts

  1. Very helpful, thanks! I read somewhere else yesterday that it´s best to break it up into two days, and now I´m reading it here. So I´ll take that advice!
    Are we on the CPS Seal of Bilit committee together?

  2. oh oh, people are actually listening to what I’m saying. that’s a scary thought. in all honesty we have seen much better results when teachers understand proficiency, students understand proficiency and everything that has happening in the classroom is focused on proficiency.

    So glad to hear that you are using AAPPL to help you validate what is going on in your classroom or potentially make adjustment. This assessment is such an important piece of the feedback loop. Also, love the innovative way you raised the funds to make it happen. Kudos to you.

  3. Hi, I may be interested in doing this test with my students (I teach French). I’m wondering what your students’ experience was like typing in Spanish / using accents on the keyboard? My students do not use the computer very often and are not familiar with how to type accents, and I wonder if that will hinder them in the Writing section.

      1. Hi, Thanks for posting about this test. I am going to be giving it for the first time next week. In your original blog post, you advised “Remember to look (with the kids) at ACTFLs proficiency levels! They need to KNOW what makes he difference between IL IM and IH!” I would like to how you did this; did you share the descriptions from ACTFL as posted here ?http://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/ACTFLPerformance_Descriptors.pdf

        Thanks so much!
        Rosemarie

      2. I condensed them into kid friendly language and I encourage them to aim high every time they do an activity! If they know the target they can hit it in time!

  4. I’m sorry to keep asking so many questions… my students started the test today and I’m thrilled with the results so far. Where did you get the above statistic that 90% of students score at NH/IL level after 4 years of high school? I can’t find it on the ACTFL website.

    1. Paul Sandrock shared it in a workshop I attended and the TELL project shares the stat as well. It is part of the ACTFL proficiency guidelines document in the form of a graph, I believe…

  5. Hi,

    Is there any books or detailed syllabus to help prepare for the test? I found the list of topics on line, but it is difficult to know what specific vocabulary to teach for these topics (and in what order) to maximise the chances of success. Thanks in advance!

  6. Hello!! I have just recently started to think about administering the APPL to my spanish 4 students. This is the first year we have offered this level and they can get college credit for the proficiency certificate of Intermediate low here in Minnesota. I have never taught them focused grammar and they have only been exposed them to very CI curriculum (readings, El Internado, TPRS stories, many of your ideas…) How much does grammar play into the test? How did you start to prepare your students? I know the first time my students take it they might not do as well as subsequent years when i can work on similar activities and have some data to guide my class, but I’m really concerned about that grammar aspect. Any tips?

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