Language Certification Testing

Looking to become certified? You will find everything here.

The Perception-Language Acquisition Test

Perception-Language Acquisition Test evaluates an individual’s comprehension of spoken Spanish or spoken English by accurately measuring the person’s ability to correctly map the sounds of that language to the images they represent, which represents the person’s acquisition of the language.

No one can speak more than he or she can understand, so it is reasonable to measure listening comprehension ability as an indicator of a person’s speaking ability. This is the only listening comprehension assessment of its kind anywhere.

No Reading or Writing

No reading or writing

The participants do not do any reading or writing or speaking during the tests. All of the questions and possible answers are given orally by the instructor, who is a native speaker, and relate to the image created in the classroom. There are two general classes of images: those in which a situation is performed in the classroom, and those which must be created in the student’s mind from the spoken language without the benefit of actually seeing the situation performed. Each situation has a question that is related to it followed by four possible answers read aloud by the test giver; a fifth choice is available in order to avoid guessing.

Listen Carefully

The question and the possible answers are said only once, so the participant must be able to listen very carefully to what is said in order to process the spoken words into meaning at the moment they are heard, and to be able to think and analyze directly in Spanish or English without translating. There is no need to “study” for these tests because the participant either knows the language or not. They accurately measure a person’s acquisition of Spanish  or English at that point in time.

All questions and answers are directly related to the perceptions and situations created in the classroom.

All answers are quantifiable, so there is no subjective input into the final calculation.


We have found that the only people who score 80% or higher on the Perception-Language Acquisition Test [PLAT] prior to taking our Natural Language Training program for Spanish or English are either native speakers or near-native speakers of the language.


Our data have consistently shown that a person who scores 75% or higher does indeed speak with a reasonable degree of fluency. This means that he or she can function on the job using the Spanish or English language.


This test has been given to over 14,000 people since 1984 in English and Spanish. No one has ever scored 100% on any PLAT, including native speakers with Ph.D.s in the language.

Our testing program is fast, accurate and guaranteed.

Since 2004, law enforcement agencies and municipalities in Washington State rely on our testing to certify that their personnel can carry out their duties in the Spanish language.

Assessing a person’s foreign language ability cannot follow traditional expectations of what a language test should be:

written translation test that consists of translating a document from English to Spanish, for example, does not measure how well a person can perform on the job in the spoken language. Just because a person can understand and speak Spanish does not mean he or she can accurately translate a written document to or from that language.

A speaking test in which the participants are tested orally cannot be adequately quantified, and any successful outcome depends upon the subjective mercy of the test giver who may or not be a native speaker. Dialect, “street” language, and accent would all play an important role in determining whether or not a participant passes.

A grammar test measures how well a person knows the grammar of the target language by writing sentences in a certain way, which in no way reflects how well a person can actually understand and speak Spanish or English in order to perform duties. Not all native speakers have a conscious grasp of their native grammar, although they can speak and understand it just fine.

Online testing and distance-learning testing fall into the same categories above, and are totally inadequate measures of an individual’s language competence.

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