Quality standards

The Goethe-Institut can look back on many years of experience as an institution that develops, administers and conducts standardized examinations worldwide. Forward-looking trends in the field of German as a Foreign/Second Language play an important role in the revision and new development of exam formats. Broad quality management ensures that the high professional standards of foreign language exams are met.

Goethe Zertifikat Foto: Sonja Tobias

Indicators of good quality

Good Exams are ...

  • Valid 
    An exam is valid if it assesses what it is supposed to. A language exam only takes linguistic ability into account, e.g. listening and reading comprehension or oral or written communication skills in different contexts, e.g. in everyday life or at work. 
  • Reliable 
    Exam versions of the same level have the same difficulty, i.e. participants achieve the same result regardless of which exam version they receive. A high degree of reliability is achieved by assigning two trained examiners to assess participants’ performance.
  • Objective 
    The exam is conducted under standardized conditions and on the basis of transparent instructions. The use of closed tasks (including multiple choice) or independent assessment by two trained examiners according to clear and defined assessment criteria ensures an objective evaluation of the results. 
  • Fair 
    Exams and their content are as fair as possible for all participants – regardless of gender, ethnic origin or sociocultural affiliation, for example. 
  • Practicable 
    An exam or its administration should be easy to implement for all the involved participants. Goethe-Institut exams are continuously being developed and optimized: This concerns, for example, the duration of the test or the use of modern media. 

How we implement the quality standards

Goethe-Institut exams are developed by specialists with many years of expertise in the field and are competently supervised by experts. Test authors with teaching and exam experience write the exam questions. The final editing is carried out by the experts at the head office in Munich. Before being used, the exam versions are pre-tested under exam conditions at our exam centres, and the results are evaluated both qualitatively and quantitatively.  

Whether at a Goethe-Institut or an exam partner, the exams are carried out according to uniform standards and assessed by two independent, trained examiners. The examiners are trained and further educated in centralized and decentralized seminars. 

For participants with special needs, the Goethe-Institut offers accessible exams and online practice material. For deaf candidates, for example, the listening section of the exam is available in sign language, while blind candidates are offered the exam material in Braille. 

The processes are continuously monitored by our quality management team to ensure that the quality of our exams fulfils the minimum standards of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE). 

Working together for
standardized language exams in europe

The Goethe-Institut is a founding member of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE). This association of European language test providers has been in existence since 1990 and currently has 33 members who develop and conduct language exams in 26 European languages. The members are committed to the development and implementation of quality standards. This creates transparency and comparability within Europe and beyond. 

The Goethe-Institut has its exams audited at regular intervals by the ALTE quality management system. The Goethe-Zertifikate bears the ALTE-Q-Mark as a seal of quality. The Q-Mark guarantees both participants and other stakeholders, such as official bodies, that the Goethe-Institut consistently implements the quality standards of exams in all areas. 

Logo ALTE Q-mark ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Language qualification at the Goethe-Institut

Learn German with the international market leader for German tuition and exams. Whether you are interested in German courses and exams in Germany, in your home country or online - the Goethe-Institut is your qualified partner. We provide learners with language qualifications for everyday life, for work or for higher education and certify them with internationally recognized German exams.

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