The ÖSD is a central language testing and assessment system with unified standards, which is not linked to any specific language courses. ÖSD exams correspond to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and “Profile deutsch”.
The ÖSD sees itself as a communicative-oriented examination system which aims to assess foreign language competence in real-life situations.
The ÖSD supports a pluricentric view of languages: all standard varieties of German as spoken in Austria, Germany and Switzerland are considered equal. The ÖSD tries to take account of the many varieties of German in its exams, so that candidates can cope in all German-speaking countries. This means that the receptive tasks in particular (reading and listening skills) are based on texts from all three German-speaking countries.

ÖSD exams are based on the following basic principles:

1. Close contact with reality:

  • If possible, texts and tasks are authentic and adapted to real-life situations. The situations in which speaking take place are chosen for their relevance and representativeness. This not only includes the authenticity of texts and tasks but also their situational context.

2. Test formats:

  • The tasks should reflect the abilities of the candidates as closely as possible, i.e. when testing listening skills, the results should not be distorted by a task that also asks for excellent writing skills, a good memory or successful oral production. Conversely, no valid conclusions as regards productive skills such as writing and speaking can be drawn from multiple-choice tests. In these cases, more open tasks are preferred.

3. Skills :

  • To obtain a comprehensive and balanced picture of a person’s language competence, ÖSD exams are divided into different parts. The ÖSD differentiates between individual communicative skills (reading comprehension, listening comprehension, writing skills, speaking) and combined communicative skills (for example listening and speaking: conversation; reading and writing: correspondence).

    Grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling are regarded as secondary aspects of communicative competence and are, thus, only implicitly checked and assessed.

4. Assessment:

  • The more open and direct a language exam is, the higher the demands placed on examiners and assessors.
    We do not only provide precise assessment guidelines and criteria but also run intensive courses for examiners in which assessment training is carried out in order to ensure reliable evaluation and assessment.