Integration course system

Our language support for economic migrants is founded on our many decades of experience in the field of “German as a Second Language” within Germany. As partners we are involved in quality assurance, as well as the development and revision of strategy documents central to the integration course system, for example the framework curriculum, the German test for migrants, or the teacher qualification.

Two young men in conversation © Goethe-Institut, Getty Images

Experience and expertise

Integration courses provide opportunities for immigrants to acquire language skills as well as practical knowledge about the German culture, history and society. The integration courses in Germany had already reached 1.2 million migrants by 2010. The Goethe-Institut is a member of the evaluation committee for integration courses at the Federal Agency of Migration and Refugees, a circle of experts with the role of supporting the development of integration courses in a qualitative capacity.

Framework curriculum for integration courses

The language course element and final exam of integration courses in Germany feature content based on the “Rahmencurriculum für Integrationskurse Deutsch als Zweitsprache” (Framework Curriculum for Integration Courses – German as a Second Language). This curriculum defines a framework for goals and content of the integration course delivered by the Federal Agency of Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge; BAMF). The Goethe-Institut formulated this framework by order of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community in 2006, and it was revised to update several themes of topical relevance in 2016. The curriculum shows the social contexts in which migrants want or need to communicate using the target language and includes a list of as many learning goals as possible. These areas of communication and learning goals form a basis from which exam developers, textbook authors and course planners can select goals and content appropriate to the learning objective for their particular integration course.  

German Test for Immigrants (Deutsch-Test für Zuwandernde; DTZ)

The final exams for the courses, which consist of a language course and an orientation course, are the DTZ German test for immigrants for the language element, and the “Leben in Deutschland” test (Living in Germany) for the orientation course element. Like the framework curriculum, the DTZ was developed by the Goethe-Institut by order of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community. The DTZ tests listening and reading comprehension, as well as written and spoken skills. The test can serve as evidence for both Level A2 and Level B1. However, Level B1 is required to receive the integration course completion certificate. Furthermore, anyone capable of achieving the integration course certificate is well equipped for integration into society.

Partners in teacher qualification

Most recently in 2020 the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees tasked the Goethe-Institut with updating the resource “Zusatzqualifizierung von Lehrkräften im Bereich Deutsch als Zweitsprache” (supplementary qualification for teachers in the field of German as a second language), which was originally developed by the Goethe-Institut and implemented on a national scale in 2006. This follow-up project envisaged a modular, competence-oriented structure, with closer integration of theory and practice. Additionally, the updated document was supposed to reflect social changes such as digitalisation, as well as taking into consideration the new target groups within the immigrant community. This meant that the Goethe-Institut was once more faced with the task of compiling established and innovative content, teaching and learning forms for developing topical teaching activities in integration courses.

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