Local trial courts throughout California employ many bilingual staff members. In 2015 the Judicial Council adopted the Strategic Plan for Language Access in the California Courts, which includes:
Courts must ensure that bilingual staff providing information to Limited English Proficiency court users are proficient in the languages in which they communicate. All individuals designated as bilingual staff by courts must meet minimum meet standards. Courts should not rely on self-evaluation by bilingual staff in determining their language proficiency. Each court may wish to select a standard (or multiple standards) based on the position being filled.
One resource available for testing bilingual staff members’ speaking proficiency in Spanish and 70 other languages is the Oral Proficiency Exam (OPE) currently available through Prometric. Although the Judicial Council set up the exam offering for court interpreters, anyone (including court staff) can take the exam with the standard fees.
The Oral Proficiency Exam measures the ability of an individual to communicate in the language being tested. Candidates go to a testing center to take the exam. The exam is conducted over a secure telephone line by a live, trained, and certified American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) interviewer. The exam will be recorded by the ACTFL interviewer so that it can later be rated. Register and schedule your exam at one time by calling Prometric at 866-241-3118.
Wu and Yoruba
* Certified Language, OPE Exam optional, not required.
Before you sign up to take any California court examination, please review the Candidate Information Bulletin. This bulletin will provide you with important information about each examination including requirements, testing windows, what to expect on test day, rescheduling/cancellation policy and much more.
If you require testing accommodations such as those necessary for disabilities, please complete an accommodation request form or contact Prometric at 866-241-3118 for assistance. You will need to provide professional medical documentation of your disability to help us determine the necessary testing arrangements. Advance notice is required for all special testing arrangements; please make your request at least 30 days in advance of your desired testing appointment.
Before you sign up to take any OPE exam, please confirm the below information with your court supervisor or manager:
You may contact Prometric at 866-241-3118 between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Pacific time), Monday through Friday, to register and schedule your Oral Proficiency Exam appointment(s). Individuals who wish to take more than one OPE may want to schedule back to back appointments.
When you register for any exam, be sure to use your legal name as listed on your official ID. Your official ID should meet these three requirements:
Register with your full name exactly as it appears on your ID. Upon registration, Prometric’s data management system assigns a unique identification number, often called a Prometric ID number, to every candidate. You must use your Prometric ID number when registering and scheduling for any of the exams.
Your Oral Proficiency Exam will be given only at select Prometric Test Centers in California. Select your preferred two exam testing locations before you call to register. A complete list of the test center locations in California equipped to administer the OPE is provided on the OPE webpage.
If you need to change your appointment, please review the policies in the Candidate Information Bulletin.
The Oral Proficiency Exam measures the ability of an individual to communicate in the language being tested at the moment of taking the exam; therefore, no preparation is required. However, bilingual individuals may want to practice conversing in the selected language for several minutes before taking the exam. In planning for test day, you can view our What to expect on Test Day, Video 1: The Oral Proficiency Exam.
Confirm the Test Center address and review directions provided.
You must present a valid, non-expired form of identification before you can test. That identification document must:
Arrive at the Test Center 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment.
The Oral Proficiency Exam itself is a 20–30 minute conversation over the telephone between you on one end of the phone line and an American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) trained and certified interviewer on the other end of the phone line. The exam has four components:
During the test, the interviewer will engage you in discussion of topics of interest, and then probe your level of speaking ability.
You will receive your score report within 30 days of your exam via US Mail.
Follow the instructions provided by your court employer for submission of your scores.
If at any time your address changes, or your language of intent changes, please ensure you reach out to Prometric to update your profile.
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