Critical Reflection Essay


After reviewing your self assessment results, compose a well-written, clearly structured essay of 450-600 words written in English that is both a self-assessment of your Spanish-language skills and also explains how you have used your language and cultural understanding skills at the university and beyond. Your essay should show that you have engaged in critical reflection on your own language skills and learning process and that you have developed the tools for continued language acquisition, demonstrating your linguistic growth through specific experiences with the language.

You must pass the essay in order to register for the ACTFL exam, and successful essays must include the elements listed below. If your essay is not successful, you will have an opportunity to resubmit during the next submission period. 

Evaluative Criteria

Your essay will be rated for completeness on the checklist below.

Your essay:

  • reflects on your self-assessment results.
  • explains your current level of Spanish language proficiency.
  • demonstrates how you have used your Spanish language and culture skills at the university and beyond through completion of some or all of the additional recommended experiences.
  • focuses on 1 or 2 of the additional recommended experiences and:
    • clearly conveys how the experience was beneficial to me in terms of developing my Spanish language skills and cultural understanding.
    • describes how this specific experience was significant for my personal, professional or academic development.

Your essay might focus on these types of experiences:

  • Study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country
  • Service learning in a Spanish-speaking community
  • Sustained volunteer or work experience in a Spanish-speaking community
  • Participation in the Community Engagement Scholars Program
  • TandemPlus
  • Additional upper-division coursework taught in Spanish
  • Participation in a language-based Living and Learning Community

You might structure your essay in response to one or more of the following questions:

  • How do my self-assessment results compare with my own perception of my Spanish-language strengths and weaknesses?
  • Based on the ACTFL descriptions of proficiency levels, according to my self-assessment results, what is my current proficiency level? How does this compare with my own perception of my Spanish-language strengths and weaknesses?
  • According to my self-assessment results, what is my strongest skill? What have I done to achieve proficiency in that skill, and how have I actively been able to use that skill (concrete examples)?
  • According to my self-assessment results, what is my weakest skill? How have I worked to improve this skill, and what more could I do in the future?