Skip navigation Jump to main navigation

ALP Levels and English Language Testing

ALP Levels

The American Language Program provides instruction in eight levels of English proficiency. ALP Level 2 is pre-intermediate level ability (note: NOT beginner) whereas Level 9 is very high advanced. Our exit level, 10, signifies near-native proficiency of an educated language user.

Note: The ALP does not teach beginners (level 0, level 1). If you speak no English, or speak just basic English, the ALP is NOT the right program for you. Level 2 pre-intermediate students must be able to speak and write about familiar topics and be able to understand and read straightforward information in English (CEF-R A2 level) before coming to the ALP. Applicants scoring below level 2 on the Oxford online placement exam will not be given admission to our program. All students are re-tested when they arrive. If a student is too low for our program - meaning they cannot understand the class and cannot participate - they will not be able to continue (regardless of online placement exam score). We will give a 100% tuition refund and help with a transfer to another school.

Note: from Spring 2019 the ALP will no longer teach Level 1. Students must be at Level 2 ability (CEF-R A2) or above.

For questions about ALP Testing, contact alptest [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu.

Comparison Table of ALP Levels, the CEFR and the Oxford Online Placement Test

Figures in the table below represent approximate scores for initial placement into ALP levels. This table is based on information available on the Oxford Online Placement Test website, which reports comparisons with the Common European Frame of Reference (CEFR). Score comparisons may change depending on further research by the test designers. The ALP does not claim final authority for this OOPT/CEFR comparison.

The ALP has performed internal studies to map its levels onto the CEFR and the OOPT, the test that is used as part of the ALP admissions process. The ALP places students into integrated-skills classes, so students placed into any ALP level may show a range of scores on the sub-sections of this test. The scores on this test are not absolute cut-off scores. The ALP administration and faculty may adjust student placement based on classroom performance.

Comparison Table
ALP Level Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) Oxford Online Placement Test (OOPT)
2

A2

21-40

3

B1

41-45

4

46-50

5

51-63

6

B2

64-74

7

75-85

8

C1

86-100

9

101+

Tests

Placement

Promotion

Connect with Us

Learn more about American Language Program at Columbia University School of Professional Studies, or contact the program advisor.

Request more information

Apply to the American Language Program

Learn more about the application process, deadlines, and requirements.

Learn more