NEWL - Field Testing (2017-2018)

The National Examinations in World Languages (NEWL) is an online proficiency exam for language learners of Arabic, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian seeking college placement and/or credit.


American Councils develops intensive language immersion programs, including the Language Flagship and the Critical Language Scholarship program. We are pleased to invite institutions that focus on critical languages: Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, and Urdu to be part of the upcoming Field Test (FT) exams.

The online assessment consists of one listening and one reading comprehension section, and measures language proficiency from ACTFL Intermediate Low to Superior (Levels 0+ to 3+ on the ILR scale. American Councils will collect statistical information from the field tests to measure the effectiveness of the test items. Participants can take the assessment from any computer with a secure internet connection and audio.


  • Only heritage or traditional foreign language learners can participate in the 2018 Assessment Field Tests. (Traditional foreign language learners are those students who began learning the target language with very little or no background knowledge. Heritage learners have some family background in the target language, but are not fully functional in the language.).
  • Examinees must have minimum proficiency in the tested language equivalent to Intermediate Low (ACTFL)/0+ (ILR) or higher. Please refer to the following descriptions of proficiency at the Intermediate level:
  • Listening: At the Intermediate level, listeners can understand the information conveyed in simple, sentence-length speech on familiar or everyday topics. They are generally able to comprehend one utterance at a time while engaged in face-to-face conversations or in routine listening tasks such as understanding highly contextualized messages, straightforward announcements, or simple instructions and directions. Listeners rely heavily on redundancy, restatement, paraphrasing, and contextual clues.
  • Reading: At the Intermediate level, readers can understand the information conveyed in simple, predictable, loosely connected texts. Readers rely heavily on contextual clues. They can most easily understand information if the format of the text is familiar, such as in a weather report or a social announcement.
  • The test instructions, questions, and answer choices are written in English, so test takers must have native-like proficiency in English to participate.
  • Must be at least 15 years old in order to participate.


  • The exams are offered at no cost to students or test centers.
  • Each participating test center will receive $10.00 per student tested.
  • Registered teachers will receive a report of their students' advisory scores in listening and reading modalities.
  • Students will receive advisory proficiency scores.

We currently offer testing windows through August 2018. Here are the confirmed testing windows:

Window 1:March 19-23, 2018
Window 2: April 16-20, 2018
Window 3: May 21 -25, 2018
Window 4: June 25-29, 2018
Window 5: July 23-27, 2018
Window 6: August 20-24, 2018

Participants may take the assessment at any time during these suggested testing windows OR you may recommend different date(s) to us, at your earliest convenience. Please note that the exam will last 2 hours for both reading and listening sections.


  • The FT exams can be administered in a computer lab at your school.
  • Please note that each unaffiliated examinee is responsible for locating a testing center (typically a local college or university / library computer lab)
  • We require a proctor and lab technician in order to administer the FT exams.
  • Testing center requirements can be found here: Testing Center Requirements.

We hope that your students will participate in this effort, and through it we can highlight the importance of these critical languages, and bring attention to the need for current and valid assessments for languages that have historically received less attention.


Huma Manati


1. Test Center Requirements

2. Testing Center Reimbursement Form

3. Field Test Flyer


Frequently Asked Questions