ABSTRACT This paper describes a short study investigating how fully potential users of the ACTFL (1, 2) and ILR Proficiency Scales (8) acquire the standard and thus accurately grade reading passages according to the scales. Because the study's participants came from three different languages, French German, and Spanish, English passages served for the training. The passages had been previously rated by the ILR Testing Committee and were subsequently rated blind by the participants in the study. The extent to which the standard was correctly applied was checked by two tasks, ranking passages for difficulty and rating them according to the scales. We hypothesized that if potential users of the scale could accomplish these tasks with suitable accuracy, then a major criticism of the reading proficiency scales and a significant impediment to their use could be overcome. In the present study, twenty-five participants in a five-day workshop designed items for testing proficiency in listening, reading, writing and speaking at the University of Minnesota. On the first and final days of the workshop participants attempted the ranking and rating tasks for reading texts. The success achieved on the two tasks suggests strongly that the reading proficiency standard can indeed be learned and passages ranked and rated accordingly.