, 2016
Outside Agencies District Employees
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The following explanation uses "Spanish" as the language being tested. The scoring methods apply to all languages.

The Bilingual Proficiency test requires candidates to translate 60 Spanish sentences into English and 60 English sentences into Spanish. In the Summative Scoring method, raters categorize each translated sentence as "Less than Basic Competence" (0 points), "Basic Competence" (1 point), or "Fluent" (2 points). Raters assess the translations in the following areas:

  • speech clarity
  • sentence structure
  • grammar
  • vocabulary
  • translation accuracy (e.g., meaning, use of slang)
Candidates can receive a maximum of 120 points for the 60 Spanish to English translations and 120 points for the 60 English to Spanish translations.

In the Holistic Scoring method, raters are instructed to determine each candidate's overall proficiency level for both English to Spanish and Spanish to English translations. Once again, the factors above are taken into consideration when assigning an overall score of "0", "1", or "2".


Based on discussion and data collected from Subject Matter Experts, recommendations for pass-points have been made. Candidates who receive a Summative Score of at least 60 are classified into the "Basic Competence" range (see table below). A score of 60 indicates that a candidate scored an average of "1" on the 60 translations.

To be classified as "Fluent", a candidate should receive a score of "2" on at least 90% of his/her translations (110 points). Subject Matter Experts indicated that English to Spanish translations were slightly more challenging than the translations made from Spanish to English. Consequently, it was decided that candidates' need only to receive a score of "2" at least 88% of the time to be certified as "Fluent" in translating English to Spanish (105 points).

Candidates who obtain a Summative Score at or above 60 (Basic Competence) should, in theory, receive a Holistic Score of at least "1" (Basic Competence); however, this is not always the case.

For example, many of a candidate's translations may have been considered, by raters, to be at the "Less than Basic Competence" level or "0". It is possible for the same candidate to compensate for the "0s" translations with "2s", and consequently receive an overall Summative Score of "60", classifying him/her into the "Basic Competence" range. In this situation, the Summative Scoring method has allowed the candidate to compensate for the "Less than Basic Competence" translations with "Fluent" ratings.

In the Holistic Scoring method, raters assess the candidate's performance on a more "global" level. A rater will take into consideration whether a candidate was able to consistently translate at the "Basic Competence" or "Fluent" level. The Holistic Scoring method is not compensatory. "Fluent" translations will not always compensate for "Less than Competent" ratings. This may help ensure that a candidate who receives a Holistic Score of at least "1" can consistently make translations at least at the "Basic Competent" level.


Summative Scoring
English to Other 105 - 120 60 - 104.5 0 - 59.5
Other to English 110 - 120 60 - 109.5 0 - 59.5

*Based on preliminary research which we have conducted, we have established recommended score ranges to determine whether an individual should be considered to be fluent, to possess basic competency, or to possess less than basic competency. This information is shown in the table above. This information is provided for you to use if you so choose.


0 Less Than Basic Competence:
  • Speech was difficult to understand (mumbled, slurred words together, incomplete sentence).
  • Use of slang, colloquialisms or jargon; lapses into the original language which limited clear communication.
  • Limited use of vocabulary and/or direct terminology; expressed only the most elementary concepts; or used inappropriate vocabulary that could not be understood. When resorting to "explaining" the concept, explanation was confusing and inaccurate.
  • Omission and/or addition of words, phrases or sentences resulting in significant misinterpretation.
  • Incorrect structuring of sentence (grammar, punctuation) that caused confusion and altered the meaning of the sentence.
  • Translated on a strict word-for-word basis resulting in incorrect sentence structure and misinterpretation.
  • Omission of critical information which would cause confusion and misunderstanding.

1 Basic Competence:
  • Speech was reasonably clear and understandable.
  • Use of slang, colloquialisms, jargon, or lapses into the original language but did not change the meaning nor cause misunderstanding.
  • Adequate use of vocabulary to express information. If precise vocabulary or direct terminology was lacking, could "explain" the concept accurately.
  • Addition and/or omission of words, phrases or sentence; did not result in misinterpretation.
  • Sentence structure was not entirely accurate but did not cause misunderstanding.
  • May have relied on word-for-word translation, but did not cause misunderstanding.
  • Inclusion of most critical information. Information missed would not cause major misunderstanding.

2 Fluent:
  • Speech was very clear, fluent and understandable.
  • No use of slang, colloquialisms, jargon nor lapses into the original language.
  • Precise vocabulary and/or direct terminology was used in the translation indicating a wealth of capacity. Only "explained" concepts when no direct terminology exists in that language.
  • Rare addition and/or omission of words, phrases or sentence; did not affect the clarity or accuracy of the translation.
  • Sentence structure was accurate and expressed meaning clearly.
  • Did not resort to word-for-word translation.
  • Accurate inclusion and translation of all critical information.