A total of 22 universities participated in the study, and 3,000 Listening and 3,300 Reading Proficiency Tests were administered. Approximately 50% were Spanish, 25% were French, and 10% were German tests. The remaining 15% consisted of Russian, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese.
One of the most encouraging findings was the fact that graduating seniors were, on average, advanced in reading in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and German. The study, therefore, provides evidence that professional (advanced) competences are commonly acquired in reading, even as early as the third year, in the most commonly taught languages. For a profession that has gotten used to accepting the fact that in speaking, intermediate mid seems to be the threshold that is all but impossible to get beyond without a significant period abroad, this is good news indeed.
Listening proficiency, however, seems to be a different matter. For languages like Spanish and German, and even Russian, the mean difference in proficiency level is one sublevel lower than for reading. The mean in Spanish, for example, is intermediate low in reading and novice high in listening at the end of the second-year sequence. For languages like French and Portuguese, languages where the spoken language is very different from the written one, the difference is even larger, i.e., close to two sublevels.