The OPI is a face-to-face or telephonic interview that consists of three phases: a warm-up phase, a series of level checks and probes, and a wind-down phase. This is one of the most widely accepted tests for speaking ability and is used by government agencies (The Defense Language Institute, The Peace Corps), testing institutions (Educational Testing Service) and the Federal Interagency Language Roundtable.
There are many advantages to the OPI system of testing. It is easy, quick and apparently accurately forecasts the degree to which a foreign-speaker will be able to communicate in English. Unlike written tests, it actually tests English speaking ability which, as with all languages, is completely separate from the ability to read and write. The test can be performed quickly and the tester can interview multiple people in a single session. This is particularly importance within the context in which this test is often given.
Thus graduate students from foreign countries are often given the test before they can perform grading and/or teaching duties in American universities. Resources for such testing are limited, and so the ability for one tester to perform multiple tests in one day is vital.
There are, however, detractors who ...Show more