Modern Language Aptitude Test

Modern Language Aptitude Test

Modern Language Aptitude Test

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The Modern Language Aptitude Test was designed to predict a student’s likelihood of success and ease in learning a foreign language.

The Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT) was developed to measure foreign language learning aptitude. Language learning aptitude does not refer to whether or not an individual can or cannot learn a foreign language (it is assumed that virtually everyone can learn a foreign language given adequate opportunity). According to John Carroll and Stanley Sapon, the authors of the MLAT, language learning aptitude refers to the “prediction of how well, relative to other individuals, an individual can learn a foreign language in a given amount of time and under given conditions.” The MLAT has primarily been used for adults in government language programs and missionaries, but it is also appropriate for students in grades 9 to 12 as well as college/university students so it is also used by private schools and school and clinical psychologists. Similar tests have been created for younger age groups. For example, the Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery was designed for junior high and high school students while the MLAT-E is for children in grades 3 through 6.


John B. Carroll and Stanley Sapon are mainly 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. The initial purpose of developing the Modern Language Aptitude Test was to help...
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