ILR Skill Level

The Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale describes a person’s abilities to communicate in a language. It grades people’s language proficiency on a scale of 0-5. Grades may be assigned separately for different skills such as reading, speaking, listening, writing, translation, audio translation, interpretation, and intercultural communication.

ILR Level 0 – No proficiency
• oral production limited to isolated words
• able to ask questions or make statements with reasonable accuracy only with memorized words
• unable to read prose but may be able to read numbers, isolated words, and phrases

ILR Level 1 – Elementary proficiency
• can fulfill traveling needs and conduct themselves in an appropriate manner
• able to use questions and answers for simple topics; the native speaker must pay close attention
• able to understand basic questions and speech requiring slower speech or repetition
• has a vocabulary only large enough to communicate the most basic of needs
• writes in simple sentences or sentence fragments with continual spelling and grammar errors
• Able to perform most basic functions using the language e.g. buying goods and ordering simple meals

ILR Level 2 – Limited working proficiency
• able to satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements
• can handle most basic social situations including introductions and casual conversations
• can handle limited work requirements, needing help in handling any complications or difficulties
• has an accent which, though often quite faulty, is intelligible

ILR Level 3 – Professional working proficiency
• able to speak with sufficient structural accuracy and vocabulary to participate in most conversations
• can discuss particular interests and special fields of competence with reasonable ease
• has comprehension which is quite complete for a normal rate of speech
• has a general vocabulary which is broad enough that he or she rarely has to search for words
• has an accent which is obviously foreign but has a good control of grammar

ILR Level 4 – Full professional proficiency
• uses the language fluently and accurately on all levels and as normally pertinent to professional needs
• can understand and participate in any conversations within the range of experience
• would rarely be taken for a native speaker, but can respond appropriately in unfamiliar situations
• makes only quite rare and minute errors of pronunciation and grammar
• can handle informal interpreting of the language

ILR Level 5 – Native or bilingual proficiency
• Proficiency is functionally equivalent to that of a highly articulate well-educated native speaker
• Ability reflects the cultural standards of the country where the language is natively spoken
• Pronunciation is consistent with that of well-educated native speakers of a non-stigmatized dialect
• The individual uses the language with complete flexibility and intuition
• Speech on all levels is fully accepted by well-educated native speakers in all of its features
• Extensive breadth of vocabulary and idiom, slang, colloquialisms, and pertinent cultural references

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