Levels of Proficiency

The lowest level of language proficiency required to satisfy the language degree requirement at Fletcher is as follows: General Professional proficiency on the reading comprehension examination (with the below noted exception) and Limited Working proficiency on the oral exam. Students who do not meet the minimum level of proficiency required on their first attempt at either the reading comprehension exam or the oral exam will need attempt that portion of the exam again.

  • Students who achieve the General Professional proficiency level or higher on the reading comprehension exam will have satisfied the reading comprehension portion of the requirement. A score of Limited Working proficiency on the reading exam is not a passing score.
    • The only exception to the above is for students offering Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean where a score of Limited Working proficiency on the reading comprehension exam is considered a passing score.
  • Students who achieve the Limited Working proficiency level or higher on the oral exam will have satisfied the oral component of the foreign language requirement. A score of Limited Working proficiency on the oral exam is a passing score for all languages.
Standards of Language Proficiency

For purposes of establishing consistent standards of language proficiency, The Fletcher School employs the definitions of reading and speaking proficiency employed by the “interagency language roundtable” (ILR) of the U.S. government. The following levels of language proficiency are provided to place in context the requirements for the Fletcher degree. A more detailed description of these proficiency levels can be found by visiting http://www.govtilr.org.

1) Limited Working (ILR Level 2)

Speaking: Able to satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements. Can handle routine work-related interactions that are limited in scope.

Reading: Sufficient comprehension to read simple, authentic written material in a form equivalent to usual printing or typescript on subjects within a familiar context. Note: Limited Working proficiency on the reading comprehension exam is only an option for students offering Arabic, Chinese, Japanese or Korean. Limited Working proficiency does not satisfy the reading comprehension requirement for students offering any other language.

2) General Professional (ILR Level 3)

Speaking: Able to speak the language with sufficient structural accuracy and vocabulary to participate effectively in most formal and informal conversations on practical, social, and professional topics.

Reading: Able to read within a normal range of speed and with almost complete comprehension on a variety of authentic prose material on unfamiliar subjects.

3) Advanced Professional (ILR Level 4)

Speaking: Able to use the language fluently and accurately on all levels normally pertinent to professional needs.

Reading: Able to read fluently and accurately all styles and forms of the language pertinent to professional needs.

4) Functionally Native (ILR Level 5)

Speaking: Speaking proficiency is functionally equivalent to that of a highly articulate well-educated native speaker and reflects the cultural standards of the country where the language is natively spoken.

Reading: Reading proficiency is functionally equivalent to that of the well-educated native reader.