The Modern Language Aptitude Test, or MLAT, measures aptitude for learning a foreign language (2023)

it isModern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT)measures a person's ability to learn a foreign language. First published in 1959, the test can be used to predict success in learning all basic communication skills, but especially speaking and listening. The Modern Language Proficiency Test is now owned by the non-profit Language Learning and Testing Foundation, which acquired the rights to the test to ensure it remains available to the second language testing community. Click on the links below for more information.

Unfortunately, due to the sensitivity of the test, we only sell the MLAT to government agencies, mission groups, and licensed clinical psychologists. We do NOT sell the test to individual researchers, teachers, or students. If you are a qualified individual or organization wishing to apply for the MLAT, please do so.Contact Usto start your order.

Frequently asked questions - and answers

The MLAT is a safe test, what does that mean?

The MLAT is a secure test available only to government agencies, licensed clinical psychologists, and other select groups deemed appropriate to administer the test for diagnostic purposes. Sale of the MLAT to an end user is only permitted with the approval of the LLTF, and the LLTF may refuse to sell the MLAT for any reason. The MLAT is mainly used in adults.

All MLAT users must agree to maintain the security of the test. We have a security agreement that strictly prohibits reproduction of the Test Materials by printed, electronic, or mechanical means, including, but not limited to, photocopying, recording, or audiovisual transmission, and display or reproduction on any information storage and retrieval system. Users must also agree to use the test only for the express and lawful purpose for which it was designed and intended.

How is the MLAT used?

MLAT can be used for a variety of purposes. As it indicates the ease with which a person can learn a foreign language, it can be used to identify who will benefit most from language training. It has been widely used as a screening measure for intensive language programs, such as those offered to military personnel or other government officials. Alternatively, the MLAT can be used to determine which people will have the most difficulty with language training. For example, a lack of language learning ability, demonstrated by poor performance on the MLAT, can help qualify a person for a waiver or change to a foreign language requirement at an academic institution.

Who uses the MLAT and why?

The MLAT is used by institutions and individuals to measure foreign language learning ability. There are four main groups of users. Churches and mission organizations use the MLAT to determine how long they should plan to teach a language to a missionary or how difficult it is to have a language for a missionary to master. Very talented missionaries may be assigned to learn more difficult languages. Private schools use the MLAT to assess students who may be interested in learning a foreign language. Government agencies like the Foreign Service Institute and international organizations like the International Monetary Fund use the MLAT with their staff in the same way that missionary organizations do. Government agencies and businesses also use the MLAT to identify staff who would benefit most from the time and expense of an intensive language training program. School psychologists and clinical psychologists use the MLAT to determine if a student has a foreign language learning disability.

There are many studies that show that the MLAT is a good predictor of success in learning foreign languages. For a full review of the literature on the subject, cf.J.B. Carroll. (1981). 25 years of language aptitude research. In K.C. Diller, Publisher,Individual and universal differences in language learning ability. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.For a basic reference on the validity of the MLAT as a predictor of foreign language learning disabilities, seeA.H. Gajar. (1987). Difficulties in learning foreign languages: The identification of predictive and diagnostic variables.Learning Disabilities Magazine, 20(6), 327-330.

What is a language learning disability and how can the MLAT be used to diagnose it?

A language learning disability can be defined as a low ability to learn languages ​​compared to the student's ability to learn other subjects. It is usually determined by taking a series of tests, including a language proficiency test, such as the MLAT, PLAB, or MLAT-E, and looking at the pattern of results. If the student has normal aptitude for other school subjects but significantly less aptitude for language measures, then there is evidence of a weakness or impairment in language ability. Another aspect of this assessment is the examination of student performance in different subjects. If the student performs well in other subjects but is weak in the language, this is another indication of a significant gap in ability. A cognitive-educational impairment is sometimes defined as an aptitude score below a certain percentile, for example, B. on the 20th.ºpercentile, the 10thºpercentile or fifthºpercentile. Whether the cut-off point is determined or set on a case-by-case basis, with the goal of establishing policy for a particular school, the decision must be made by a qualified professional as part of a comprehensive diagnostic process.

The MLAT can be used to develop a history of difficulty learning a foreign language. For example, a school psychologist conducting a diagnostic evaluation of a student who is making slow progress in teaching a foreign language might use MLAT test scores along with information from foreign language teachers and data on progress in language courses to make a diagnosis of a foreign language. language learning disability. Ideally, the MLAT-E would be taken when the student is in elementary school, the PLAB at high school level, and the MLAT at a later stage, say in their first or sophomore year of university and facing a language requirement. Foreign. Consistent poor performance on these tests over the years would strongly support the case for a language learning disability. It is particularly important that such diagnoses are accurate and reliable, as other services and specific agreements may depend on their results.

You can learn more about test uses at:Use of language proficiency tests.

How is the MLAT administered?

The MLAT can be administered to individuals or groups. The basic test kit includes a manual, test booklet, worksheet, test taker answer sheet, manual scoring template, and CD. The CD contains instructions and directions for the entire test and keeps track of the time of the sections. The test takes approximately one hour to complete and requires the use of a CD player. After the test run is complete, the results are manually calculated using the manual scoring model.

How is the MLAT scored and what do the scores mean?

The score is counted according to the number of hits per part. Points will not be deducted for incorrect answers or omissions. The results are interpreted differently from one institution to another; That is, each institution sets limits to determine, for example, which employees of government agencies are eligible for language courses.

The MLAT standards were established in 1958, awarding the MLAT to US State Department high school, college, and military field service officers. Separate standards are available for each group. Since ability is an innate human characteristic, the level of ability does not change appreciably over time in large population groups. Therefore, these original standards continue to serve as a useful first benchmark for evaluating an individual's test score. Obviously, the best interpretations of test scores come from the individual test user's experience in relating test scores to language learning success. While these standards exist, they are not intended to replace an individual candidate's experience in relating test scores to success in language teaching at a specific institution.

How long are MLAT results valid?

With certain regulations in mind, MLAT results must be valid for at least 5 years. Language ability, as measured by the MLAT, is considered a stable trait that cannot be easily changed or improved through coursework or experience. Therefore, when used correctly, the MLAT provides a theoretically good lifetime score, although certain circumstances may lead to consideration of a retest. For example, if an individual is found to have a physical or learning disability that prevents them from understanding the test instructions or doing their best on the test, the test can be retaken with appropriate accommodations. In fact, it makes sense to allow people to retest if they want to do it for whatever reason (for example, presumed extreme fatigue, test anxiety, worry, or some other distracting or negative state of mind), as long as there is a need to do it a bit. year, since currently there is only one type of exam. In such repeated test cases, one can choose to average the results, consider both results, or consider only the most recent result. For example, the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test program only stores results for 5 years and reports multiple results obtained during that period, informing the school to review all results obtained in different administrations. For scores older than 5 years, they leave the decision entirely up to the university and offer no policy guidance.

Unlike this interpretation of "proficiency tests," scores on "performance" measures like the TOEFL are only valid for two years, as language proficiency can change significantly over that period or longer. Therefore, language proficiency is viewed as a trait that can improve or worsen, and it makes sense to limit the length of time that a test score is considered a valid measure of an individual's language proficiency. Even if the TOEFL is taken multiple times over a two-year period, ETS recommends that the most recent score be considered the most valid.

Another caveat when interpreting language proficiency scores older than one year is the reference to the relevant body of standards in the manual. For example, if a freshman submits an MLAT score they received at age 14 as a high school freshman, the interpretation should not be based on college freshman standards, but rather on the grade 9 standards, since the person was in grade 9 at the time of the test.

Can you prepare for the exam?

The MLAT measures aptitude, not performance or competence. Therefore, it is not possible to prepare for the exam. A high MLAT score indicates that a person is likely to do well in language training. Previous success in learning a foreign language may also contribute to the likelihood of learning another language, but it will not appreciably change the MLAT score. A candidate who wishes to become familiar with the MLAT before taking the exam is encouraged to review the sample tasks on this website.

What is the MLAT?

The MLAT consists of five parts, each of which measures specific skills related to foreign language learning. The first part, number learning, requires test takers to learn a series of numbers through acoustic input and then differentiate between different combinations of those numbers. The second part, Phonetic Writing, asks candidates to learn a series of correspondences between speech sounds and phonetic symbols. In the third part, Spelling Hints, candidates are asked to read words that are spelled as they are pronounced and not according to normal spelling conventions. Next, you need to choose from a list of words the one whose meaning is closest to the word "disguised". The fourth part, Words in Sentences, measures the examinee's awareness of grammatical structures. Test takers are given a keyword in one sentence and then asked to read a second sentence (or series of sentences) and choose another word that works in the same way as the keyword. Finally, in the Paired Associates section, test takers must quickly learn a number of vocabulary words from another language and memorize their meaning in English.

MLAT sample items


How is language learning aptitude measured? ›

This potential is often evaluated using formal aptitude tests, which predict the degree of success the candidate will have with a new language. Aptitude tests vary but many include evaluation of ability to manage sounds, grammatical structures, infer rules, and memory.

What is foreign language aptitude? ›

1. Introduction. Foreign language (FL) aptitude generally refers to the specific talent for learning a foreign or second language (L2) (Carroll Reference Carroll and Diller1981; Skehan Reference Skehan and Robinson2002).

What do MLAT scores mean? ›

A high score on the MLAT indicates that an individual will likely do well in language training. Previous success at foreign language a foreign learning may also contribute to the probability of learning another language but it will not appreciably change one's score on the MLAT.

What is aptitude test in English language teaching? ›

Aptitude Tests

Aptitude refers to a person's capacity for learning something. Language aptitude tests assess a person's ability to acquire new language skills. Because of the nature of these tests, they are more general than most other language tests and don't focus on a particular language.

What is an aptitude test and what does it measure? ›

An aptitude test is a way for employers to assess a candidate's abilities through a variety of different testing formats. Aptitude tests will test your ability to perform tasks and react to situations at work. This includes problem-solving, prioritisation and numerical skills, amongst other things.

What are the three types of aptitude testing? ›

They are:Numerical reasoning,Logical ability,Verbal ability. But based on the job's needs, other kinds of aptitude tests are also used for specific roles.

What is MFL aptitude test? ›

The Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) Aptitude Test is a one hour examination that helps predict your child's aptitude for learning modern foreign languages. The test results will help determine the suitability of your child to study two languages from a choice of French, Spanish and German.

How does aptitude affect language learning? ›

According to Carroll and Sapon (2002) , language aptitude refers to a set of cognitive abilities that are 'predictive of how well, relative to other individuals, an individual can learn a foreign language in a given amount of time and under given conditions' ( Carroll and Sapon 2002 : 23).

How difficult is the MLAT? ›

Tackling the MLAT. Preparing for the MLAT can seem a little daunting at first, particularly if you are taking the Linguistics test or the Language Aptitude test, which are quite unlike tests you will have taken before. But don't worry – the MLAT isn't as tough as it looks, and once you get stuck in it can be quite fun!

How is the MLAT graded? ›

Your score will be accumulated according to how many correct answers you got in each section. No points are deduced for incorrect answers or questions that are left blank. No one question is weighted higher than any other. This is important because some sections have many more questions than others.

What is an example of aptitude test? ›

The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) that high school students take during their senior year is a good example of a multiple aptitude test.

What does an aptitude test measure quizlet? ›

Aptitude tests measure the ability to learn, while achievement tests measure what we have already learned.

What is an aptitude test quizlet? ›

aptitude test. used to predict future performance example academic, or job performance. defining and purpose of intelligence testing. type of aptitude test that measures a range of ones cognitive capabilities.

What is the purpose of an aptitude test quizlet? ›

Aptitude tests measure whether a person has a certain talent or skill and predict how well they can learn a new skill (SAT). Achievement tests measure a person's knowledge and how much they have learned (Class tests).

What are common aptitude tests? ›

Types of Aptitude Tests

The most common aptitude tests are: Mechanical reasoning: These types test your knowledge of physical concepts and are generally used to evaluate you for technical positions. Situational judgment: These tests gauge your reactions to situations and your decision-making.

What are the 6 aptitudes? ›

Instead, Pink posits that success will now be based on six aptitudes (or senses): Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning.

How many questions are there in aptitude test? ›

What to Expect When Taking an Aptitude Test. Aptitude tests consist of multiple-choice questions and are administered under exam conditions, usually online. They are strictly timed and a typical test might allow 30 minutes for 30 or so questions.

What are the four components of language aptitude? ›

Using these four distinct abilities (phonetic coding ability, grammatical sensitivity, rote learning ability, and inductive learning ability), Carroll developed the MLAT, a language aptitude assessment for adults.

Is aptitude test important for students? ›

They help in identifying a student's strength towards achieving their goals based on their best skills. The scores of these aptitude tests help the experts determine what is best suited for a child, based on their skill set. It isn't only a career defining test.An aptitude test is also indicative of a personality type.

What are the difficulties faced by students while learning foreign languages? ›

Speaking with native speakers leads us to another difficulty in learning a foreign language, which is poor vocabulary. So many new words and phrases can be hard to memorize, let alone, to use while speaking.

How long is the MLAT exam? ›

Test administration takes approximately one hour and requires the use of a CD player. After test administration is complete, scores are calculated by hand using the Hand Scoring Stencil. How is the MLAT scored and what do the scores mean?

Can you prepare for the MLAT? ›

Depending on which course you are applying for, the MLAT will entail answering different questions, each of which require different preparation. For this reason, we strongly advise all students sitting the MLAT to find out which questions are required, prepare, and work with an expert in advance.

Is there an official language proficiency test? ›

ACTFL OPI. ACTFL offers oral proficiency testing in more than 65 languages and writing proficiency testing in 12 languages. The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). ACTFL also provides testing support for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Who Created the Modern Language Aptitude Test MLAT? ›

John B. Carroll and Stanley Sapon are responsible for the development of the MLAT. They designed the test as part of a five-year research study at Harvard University between 1953 and 1958.

What is a good score at criteria assessment? ›

The perfect score for CCAT generally depends on the position the candidate is applying to. According to, the average score on a CCAT is 24.2. Any score above this will fall in the top 10% of the distribution.

How much should I write for the ELAT? ›

How much should you write for the ELAT? Students with typical handwriting should aim to write between 2.5 to 3 sides of A4. That works out to between 800 and 1200 words. It is important to aim for quality, not quantity, and also to ensure that the essay is well-structured, with a proper conclusion.

How many hours does it take to learn a language FSI? ›

FSI research indicates that it takes 480 hours to reach basic fluency in group 1 languages, and 720 hours for group 2-4 languages. If we are able to put in 10 hours a day to learn a language, then basic fluency in the easy languages should take 48 days, and for difficult languages 72 days.

What does aptitude mean? ›

noun. ap·​ti·​tude ˈap-tə-ˌt(y)üd. : a natural or acquired capacity or ability. especially : a tendency, capacity, or inclination to learn or understand.

Do aptitude tests matter? ›

An aptitude test does not only help in deciding the right career interest, but also plays an important role in understanding the test taker's personality. Once students are aware of their personalities, career options and strengths, they can make informed decisions.

How can aptitude be measured? ›

In general, aptitude tests measure one's competence in logical reasoning, numerical skills, or verbal ability; competency can be evaluated through problem-solving tasks and testing one's critical thinking across various contexts.

What is an example of an aptitude? ›

What are aptitudes? Aptitudes are an individual's inherent talents and abilities for learning or doing certain things in different areas. For example, a person's ability to carry a tune is considered an aptitude. Most people have several related talents, such as singing, reading music, and playing a musical instrument.

What are the 4 approaches to language testing? ›

Due to this, four major approaches to language testing have appeared, namely: 1) essay translation approach (pre- scientific era), 2) psychometric-structuralists approach, 3) integrative approach (pragmatic) and 4) communicative approach.

What is the meaning of learning aptitude? ›

1. Having the general skills and will to learn and the specific skills and will to learn in a particular profession and social setting.

What are the four skills that are used to evaluate language proficiency? ›

SUMMARY: This article examines and argues in favor of assessing English-language proficiency using a comprehensive four-skill assessment (i.e., listening, speaking, reading and writing) rather than just a select subset of those skills.

Why are aptitude tests important? ›

An aptitude test is an important part of the screening process for potential employers and you do not want it to be a surprise when you take a test for a job opening. By staying up to date with aptitude tests, you will know your strengths and weaknesses and be able to score well for each potential employer.

Why is aptitude important in learning? ›

An aptitude test plays an important role in understanding the personality of the person. When a person is aware of one's strength, they can make an informed decision. Students can gain the requisite skills based on the outcome of the aptitude assessment which helps them succeed in their chosen career or profession.


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