Michigan’s Oral Proficiency Requirement for Teachers of World Languages

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) requires that all teacher candidates pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) for each subject area in which they wish to become certified (e.g., their teaching majors and minors). In addition to passing the MTTC, candidates wishing to become certified in world languages are required to meet oral proficiency standards. As of May 1, 2010, candidates can no longer be recommended for certification in a world language unless they have met the oral proficiency standard established by the MDE for that language.

The MDE requirement also has implications for MSU’s teaching internship. Secondary education students with world language majors must meet the standard as a condition for progressing to the internship. Elementary and secondary education students with world language minors may progress to the internship, but certification to teach the language will not appear on the teaching certificate unless they have met the standard.

The MDE requires that world language teacher candidates demonstrate oral proficiency in their language using the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). Other tests are no longer acceptable to the MDE. Teacher candidates must register to take the ACTFL at LTI (Language Testing International). Instructions for registration can be found at OPI Registration Information for Michigan Teacher Candidates.

Teacher candidates who wish to teach French, German, Italian, Latin or Spanish to demonstrate an “Advanced-Low” level of proficiency. Candidates who wish to teach Arabic, Chinese, Japanese or Russian must demonstrate an “Intermediate-High” level of proficiency to become certified. Candidates must demonstrate oral proficiency by taking the ACTFL.

For information about opportunities to improve oral proficiency, see MSU’s Center for Language Teaching Advancement, or CeLTA.