a chart shows different levels

Understanding Spanish Proficiency Level Reports

Beginners guide about the Spanish proficiency level report used in Dual language instruction

Did you get your child’s end of year Spanish proficiency level results? The first time you see this report can be overwhelming. Just like Smarter Balance, world language immersion programs had a Spanish proficiency level report.

As a parent, I wondered how Spanish proficiency level would be reported for my daughter during her first year at our local dual language immersion school. It was nice to receive my daughter’s first World Language Immersion Program report.

What is the Spanish proficiency level report?

The Spanish proficiency level report informs of a child’s language proficiency level for Spanish dual-language instruction programs. The report is similar to an English language proficiency report that focuses on Spanish skills. The score report contains important information about listening, speaking, reading, and writing Spanish language proficiency levels.

I remember pausing what I was doing to take a closer look at the report. When reviewing the report I got an idea of her strengths and weaknesses, as shown by the report. The report itself was consistent with what I saw in my daughter’s Spanish language development. I knew that her verbal ability was not as strong as her Spanish language skills in speaking. 

The below illustration is from the Utah State Office of Education. This is a snapshot of grade-level reports that schools use when they offer Spanish immersion programs across the US.

Using the 1st-grade level example shown above, you’ll see that this student’s speaking abilities are not as developed as the listening domain. This does not mean that your child is unable to speak at all in Spanish. It’s just noting that his/her ability to speak may not be as strong as his/her listening skills.

Each report contains valuable information that can help parents see strengths or weaknesses in Spanish language proficiency. Score reports describe language ability for listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Note that the above information was not discussed during parent-teacher conferences for my kids. However each year, I saved each score report to compare their Spanish language proficiency growth over the years.

Score Results

Levels of proficiency are shown as novice, intermediate, and advanced with sub-categories that describe a student’s Spanish skills as low, mid, or high. For each grade level score report, you’ll see that a specific area is highlighted. The highlighted score for each domain is the target score that corresponds to that grade level.

For instance, for 4th grade, the target score is intermediate low. In the 1st grade example above you’ll see that for this grade level the Spanish language proficiency level target is “novice”.  This target gives you an idea of the status of your child’s Spanish skills by comparing where they are below or above target.

Score report links by Grade levels (available links only)

Next, I briefly discuss domain scores to help you understand your student progress.

Listening

The listening test measures the level of understanding when spoken in Spanish. Each scoring category represents a level of language that the child understands using simple words, sentences, or short/long conversations. More specifically, the listening test measures a student’s ability to answer and follow a conversation.

Speaking

The speaking test measures a student’s ability to answer to or maintain a simple or paragraph-leveled speech using memorized and appropriate expressions. A student’s speech is appropriate when he/she uses appropriate tense language in asking and responding to questions during a conversation.

Reading

The reading test measures a student’s ability to read and understand letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs. A higher level reader in Spanish can read and understand short, non-complex text that conveys basic information.

Writing

The writing test measures a student’s ability to write words and sentences. In those simple sentences, the student must use appropriate tense to communicate basic information in writing.

Please note that when reviewing a report, you should be cautious and assess each domain individually. As a result, one should not make comparisons from one domain to another. Each domain assesses and uses its own scoring criteria.

For instance, as you review each report you might notice that sometimes a child might be “novice high” for speaking and “intermediate mid” for listening. The last scoring category for each domain is what a student should aim for within each domain. These categories remind me of grade-level expectations. Each category uses different language development definitions and descriptions appropriate to each domain.


In conclusion, the Spanish proficiency level report is an additional tool educators use to measure a student’s language services and ability. In addition, educators use classwork and other assessments to measure and report language proficiency. A similar report is available for other multilingual learners participating in Chinese immersion programs.

Do you have questions about a report you received? Feel free to ask or share here, and I’ll be happy to help.

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