The International Second Language Proficiency Ratings (ISLPR®) is a very detailed scale that describes candidate’s language behaviour in each macroskill of speaking, listening, reading and writing as it develops through 12 levels from zero proficiency to native-like. The ISLPR® differs from anything else on the market due to the various ways in which the scale can be used.
The traditional means by which the ISLPR® is used to measure proficiency is in a two-part test; there is a one hour, face-to-face interview, in which each learner’s proficiency in speaking, listening and reading is elicited and matched against the scale’s behavioural descriptions, and a one-hour writing test. Because the ISLPR® focuses directly on the learners’ language behaviour in practical use of the language and because the assessment procedures seek to elicit such language, the gap between the assessment and its results, on the one hand, and real-life use of the language, on the other, is much less than in other approaches to language testing. In that sense, the language that occurs and is measured in the ISLPR® and its assessment procedures are more authentic than in other approaches that use artificial “itemtypes” that are often far removed from what happens in real-life language use and also often end up in a numerical score which is, at best, difficult to relate to real-life language proficiency or the candidate’s potential for it. In brief, the ISLPR® supports a highly adaptive assessment procedure which makes it better able than other approaches to adapt to match the needs of different learners, using the language in different domains and genres, at different proficiency levels, and with different vocational, academic or other usage interests.