ACTFL / OPI Procedures


All SHP majors must take this exam to graduate and to receive an OPI certified score. Your score does NOT determine if you graduate, but the exam must be completed in order to earn the degree. The ACTFL OPI must be completed in your second-to-last semester to insure processing for graduation. For example, if you wish to graduate in May of 2014, you need to have your score in hand to the Spanish for Health Professions advisor by December 31st, the last day of the preceding fall semester. Please allow 6-8 weeks to complete the process, so the earlier in the semester you schedule, the better.


What is the ACTFL OPI?

 The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview, or ACTFL OPI as it is often called, is a standardized procedure for the global assessment of functional speaking ability. The ACTFL OPI takes the form of a carefully structured conversation between a trained and certified interviewer and the person whose speaking proficiency is being assessed. It is a telephonic interview between a certified ACTFL tester and an examinee that determines how well a person speaks a language by comparing his or her performance of specific communication tasks with the criteria for each of ten proficiency levels described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012 – Speaking. - See more at: The interview is interactive and continuously adapts to the speaking abilities of the individual being tested. The topics that are discussed during the interview are based on the interests and experiences of the test candidate. Through a series of personalized questions, the interviewer elicits from the test candidate examples of his or her ability to handle the communication tasks specified for each level of proficiency in order to establish a clear 'floor' and 'ceiling' of consistent functional ability. Often candidates are asked to take part in a role-play. This task provides the opportunity for linguistic functions not easily elicited through the conversational format. ACTFL OPIs are conducted and rated by ACTFL certified proficiency testers. Each interview is tape recorded and rated by one or more certified testers. Official ACTFL OPI ratings are assigned to those OPIs conducted under the supervision of the ACTFL Testing Office. Each Official OPI is blindly rated by a second certified tester. When a final rating is assigned, and ACTFL OPI Certificate is issued.

What does the OPI do for me?

The ACTFL OPI is currently used worldwide by academic institutions, government agencies, and private corporations for purposes such as: academic placement, student assessment, program evaluation, professional certification, hiring and promotional qualification. The ACTFL OPI is recognized by the American Council on Education (ACE) for the awarding of college credit. The OPI insures that future employers or admission boards understand how well you speak. All students who wish to graduate from the Spanish for Health Professions program must take the OPI and provide a copy of the score to his/her SHP advisor.  For majors in SHP, a minimum score of Intermediate High means that you do not have to take SPAN 3300 Advanced Conversation. Your advisor will note in your file that the department accepts the OPI score in lieu of this course.  It does not give you a grade, nor credits, but does save you time by allowing you to go more quickly through the required program elements program.


Start the process at least 6-8 weeks before you need the score. Ideally, if you wish to graduate in May, you should set up your OPI in the first weeks of the preceding semester (August or September). The exam currently costs $135.00 payable to LTI upon registration by credit card.. ISU does not receive any part of the fee and has no control over LTI pricing. ISU Testing and Counseling requires a $20.00 fee to cover the cost of the long-distance phone call, facilities, and staffing. Please bring cash, check, or money order when you check in on test day. If you do not have an ISU parking pass, plan on parking at quite a distance and walking to Graveley, or Purchase a one-day parking pass from ISU public Safety  (282-2625). Tickets are $25.00.

ISU Counseling and Testing in Pocatello proctors the exam. The ACTFL OPI Testing Program is administered by Language Testing International (LTI). Follow these steps:

1                     Contact Jamie Howerton. ( or call (208) 282-2130 at ISU Counseling and Testing   Ask what times are available to test. Get the ISU proctor code.

 2                     Select three (3) 120 minute (2 hour) time slots and days that work for you and for the ISU Testing

Center. You will need Ann Parker's e-mail, proctor number, and your credit card to complete registration. The interview does not take two hours, but makes scheduling easier. Your tester could be from any part of the United States and the 2 hour block of time accommodates different time zones.

 3                     Go to the LTI page at for testing information. In the upper right hand corner, you will see this prompt, Are you a client, test candidate, or proctor? Click here. Select, “candidate”. You will be guided to the Test Candidate Site. Follow the instructions. Your proctor is Pocatello ISU Counseling & Testing,  Jamie Howerton.

 4                     You will complete your registration, paying the $135.00 fee to LTI, and giving LTI your three (3) possible days and times. You will be assigned a time and date by LTI within 1-2 weeks. LTI will send you an e-mail with appointment verification and your test-taker ID Number. Verify your reservation with ISU Testing & Counseling.  It costs $50.00 to re-schedule an exam, so make sure you put the day and time in your planner and that you arrive in plenty of time. 

 5                     If you have problems registering, you will need to contact LTI at 914-963-7110 or 800-486-8444 or  Neither your advisor nor ISU Counseling and Testing can register for you. LTI is not part of ISU. If you need to call, remember that in New York it is two hours later than in southern Idaho. I you need to re-schedule you need to clear it with LTI 48 hours in advance and then re-schedule with LTI and with your proctor. ISU cannot re-schedule with LTI for you.

 6                     Be at ISU Pocatello Counseling and Testing 15-20 minutes before your scheduled test time to check in and pay the sitting fee (check or cash). Bring your testing ID Number from the LTI e-mail.   If you need time to park or are unfamiliar with the campus, plan on arriving at campus 1 hour before your scheduled time. Enter Graveley Hall South from the Quad side and go up the stairs on the RIGHT to the 2nd floor, Rm. #251. Be there 1-20 minutes before the exam is scheduled to start.

7                     Within 2-3 days of completing the interview, you should receive an e-mail link to access your score. Download your certificate to your desk top. Send a copy to your advisor. Do NOT send the link. Only you have access to the link to your score.

 8                     Once you have the score, it is your decision if you wish to include the certificate in your resume / cv. No one will have access to your score unless you grant that access.



Contact Information

Dr. Cathleen Tarp
Office: GR 114
Phone: 208-282-3329
Dr. Anna Hiller
Office: GR 110
Phone: 208-282-4070
Department of Languages and Literatures
Office: GR 103
Phone: 208-282-3630
Fax: 208-282-3098


921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho, 83209