Definition – proficiency

Proficiency – The level of proficiency tells us what the learner can do. Proficio in Latin means to make progress. How far the person has progressed is his level of proficiency. If someone is proficient in math, that doesn’t mean he is ready to occupy a chair at MIT, it means that he can do math at whatever level he has progressed to. Unfortunately, proficient is often used in a global sense, meaning ’can do it all’ as in ’he is proficient in French, he is indistinguishable from a native speaker’. In fl teaching, it is used to indicate a student ’can do’ and ’has progressed’ to a particular level, e.g. second year German. That is what proficiency tests test for. If the government wants to know it can parachute you behind enemy lines and you can pass for a native, they give you a proficiency test at that level.

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