Summary of ISLPR

The following table provides the number of the ISLPR® proficiency level, the short name of each proficiency level, and the introductory summary description from the “General Description of Language Behaviour” of each level.  The full description of the proficiency at each level is much longer. Each description of each macroskill at each level fills an A4 page in three columns:  General Description of Language Behaviour, Examples of Language Behaviour, and Comment.  A full proficiency statement identifies each macroskill separately, e.g. S:1+, L:2, R:1, W:1+.

Number Name Short Description of Language Behaviour Examples of how the Language can be used at this Level
S:0, L:0, R:0, W:0 Zero Proficiency Unable to communicate in the language. Unable to use the language for any purpose.
S:0+, L:0+, R:0+, W:0+ Formulaic Proficiency Able to perform in a very limited capacity within the most immediate, predictable areas of own need, using essentially formulaic language. Single word utterances or simple formulae in predictable areas of need.
S:1-, L:1-, R:1-, W:1- Minimum ‘Creative’ Proficiency Able to satisfy own immediate, predictable needs, using predominantly formulaic language. Can make simple material purchases or give predictable information about self or immediate others.
S:1, L:1, R:1, W:1 Basic Transactional Proficiency Able to satisfy own basic everyday transactional needs. Can make basic transactions in familiar shops, institutions, public transport, restaurant, or in very basic social interactions (e.g. making an appointment).
S:1+, L:1+, R:1+, W:1+ Transactional Proficiency Able to satisfy own simple everyday transactional needs and limited social needs. In ‘vocational’ (e.g. work) situations can communicate simple routine needs and provide basic details of less predictable occurrences; in social situations, can make introductions, give basic biographical information, and convey simple intentions or attitudes.
S:2, L:2, R:2, W:2 Basic Social Proficiency Able to satisfy basic social needs, and the requirements of routine situations pertinent to own everyday commerce and recreation and to linguistically undemanding ‘vocational’ fields In social situations, can participate in informal conversations on everyday topics in face-to-face situations or on the telephone. In ‘vocational’ situations, can generally communicate own needs and wishes to those with whom they regularly interact. In academic situations, can give a simple spontaneous recount of a personal experience.Some TAFE courses allow entry at this level.The level required by the Immigration Department for Functional English.
S:2+, L:2+, R:2+, W:2+ Social Proficiency This level is significantly better than Level 2 but has not reached Level 3. Many TAFE courses require 2+ in all or most macroskills for entry.
S:3, L:3, R:3, W:3 Basic ‘Vocational’ Proficiency Able to perform effectively in a wide range of informal and formal situations pertinent to social and community life and everyday commerce and recreation, and in situations which are not linguistically demanding in own ‘vocational’ fields. Some universities accept this as the minimum level for entry to undergraduate degree programmes.
S:3+, L:3+, R:3+, W:3+ Basic ‘Vocational’ Proficiency Plus This level is significantly better than Level 3 but has not reached Level 4. Some universities require this as the minimum level for entry to undergraduate degree programmes.  Some will accept 3+ for entry to postgraduate degree programmes.
S:4, L:4, R:4, W:4 ‘Vocational’ Proficiency Able to perform very effectively in almost all situations pertinent to social and community life and everyday commerce and recreation, and generally in almost all situations pertinent to own ‘vocational’ fields. Teacher registration authorities in Australia require 4 in all macroskills as the minimum level of proficiency in English for a non-native English speaker applying for teacher registration. In some situations, may produce language which is virtually indistinguishable from that of native speakers of the same sociocultural variety. Some universities require 4 in all macroskills for entry to some courses.
S:4+, L:4+, R:4+, W:4+ Advanced ‘Vocational’ Proficiency This level is significantly better than Level 4 but has not reached Level 5. At this level, people are able to operate as effectively as native speakers in most situations with only slight features of the language differentiating one from the other.
S:5, L:5, R:5, W:5 Native-like Proficiency Proficiency equivalent to that of a native speaker of the same sociocultural variety. In even the most complex situations (e.g. delicate diplomatic or business negotiations), no limitations are attributable to language proficiency.  In everyday situations and own ‘vocational’ fields, can convey meaning accurately and fluently in informal consecutive interpreting from the person’s first language.