ASTM-F2889 Standard Practice for Assessing Language Proficiency

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Standard Practice for Assessing Language Proficiency



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1.1 PurposeThis practice describes best practices for the development and use of language tests in the modalities of speaking, listening, reading, and writing for assessing ability according to the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale. This practice focuses on testing language proficiency in use of language for communicative purposes.

1.2 LimitationsThis practice is not intended to address testing and test development in the following specialized areas: Translation, Interpretation, Audio Translation, Transcription, other job-specific language performance tests, or Diagnostic Assessment.

1.2.1 Tests developed under this practice should not be used to address any of the above excluded purposes (for example, diagnostics).

Significance and Use

Intended Use:

This practice is intended to serve the language test developer, test provider, and language test user communities in their ability to provide useful, timely, reliable, and reproducible tests of language proficiency for general communication purposes. This practice expands the testing capacity of the United States by leveraging commercial and existing government test development and delivery capability through standardization of these processes. This practice is intended to be used by contract officers, program managers, supervisors, managers, and commanders. It is also intended to be used by test developers, those who select and evaluate tests, and users of test scores.

Furthermore, the intent of this practice is to encourage the use of expert teams to assist contracting officers, contracting officer representatives, test developers, and contractors/vendors in meeting the testing needs being addressed. Users of this practice are encouraged to focus on meeting testing needs and not to interpret this practice as limiting innovation in any way.

Compliance with the Practice:

Compliance with this practice requires adherence to all sections of this practice. Exceptions are allowed only in specific cases in which a particular section of this practice does not apply to the type or intended use of a test. Exceptions shall be documented and justified to the satisfaction of the customer. Nothing in this practice should be construed as contradicting existing federal and state laws nor allowing for deviation from established U.S. Government policies on testing.


foreign language; ILR scale; Interagency Language Roundtable scale; proficiency

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Document Number


Revision Level

2011 R20 EDITION



Modification Type


Publication Date

April 16, 2020

Document Type


Page Count

24 pages

Committee Number