Quality standards

A young woman in a classroom taking notes. Photo: Goethe-Institut / Sonja Tobias

Quality. A word we take very seriously

With its quality management procedures and many years of experience, the Goethe-Institut is a byword for the fulfilment of the high demands placed on the administration of foreign language exams.

The exercises are written by experts with teaching and examination experience and undergo final editing at our headquarters in Munich. Before being used in the actual exams, the exercises are tested under exam conditions and the results are evaluated in terms of their quality and quantity. The examiners receive initial and further training in seminars that take place at our headquarters and regionally.

Indicators of good quality:


Exams should be as fair as possible for everyone, irrespective of gender, ethnic origin or any disabilities.


Language exams should only take linguistic ability into account and not the candidate’s powers of concentration, intelligence or knowledge of the world.


A high degree of reliability is ensured by using two examiners to mark each exam.


We work tirelessly to improve our exams by optimising their duration, using modern technology and creating more favourable general exam conditions.

Standard quality criteria:

As a founding member of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) we advocate the development and implementation of quality standards.
ALTE has set itself the following objectives:
  • the standardisation of levels of ability in order to promote the international recognition of language certificates in Europe;
  • the standardisation of quality criteria for all the steps involved in the creation and processing of exams, i.e. the design and writing of tests, administration of exams, assessment, certification, evaluation and data storage;
  • cooperation in joint projects as well as the exchange of experiences and specialist knowledge.
In 2003, ALTE was admitted to the Council of Europe as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and has since provided advice on an ongoing basis on topics such as performance measurement and certification. In 2006, ALTE was granted special consultative status to the United Nations.