Information about the ÖSD in English
Some facts and figures
The ÖSD is a non-profit association with an advisory board which cooperates closely with universities, professional associations, language schools and responsible governmental departments as well as other relevant organisations in Austria.
At the moment, more than 40,000 exams take place worldwide per year in about 380 licensed examination centres.
Currently, we offer 10 different exams for the six levels A1-C2. Each of these exams includes tasks testing reading, listening, writing and speaking skills. Exams are offered for levels A1 to C2 corresponding to the standards of the “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages” (CEFR) and specified in “Profile deutsch”.
Manuela Glaboniat, the Contents Manager of the ÖSD as well as a co-author of "Profile deutsch", ensures that the exam contents comply with the levels defined in the CEFR. The Manual (Relating Language Examination to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEF) Manual. Preliminary Pilot Version, November 2003) was used when applying the reference levels to the ÖSD. Right from the start ALTE documents such as "The Code of Practice" were used in the development of ÖSD exams. The ÖSD’s close involvement is evident in Manuela Glaboniat’s research, teaching and publications.
Exams for adults
A1 Grundstufe Deutsch 1 (A1 GD1) - Equivalent to CEFR Level A1 (Breakthrough)
A1 Grundstufe Deutsch 1 assesses language competence in familiar, everyday situations on an elementary basis. This exam is for learners aged 14 and over and is also available as the Österreich-Variante (= Z-Variante) for migrants to Austria.
The ÖSD A1 GD1 and all higher ÖSD certificates (A2 to C2) are recognized as proof of language ability, according to the new Immigration Act of 2011 (and for reunification of spouses in the visa process).
A2 Grundstufe Deutsch 2 (A2 GD2) - Equivalent to CEFR Level A2 (Waystage)
A2 Grundstufe Deutsch 2 assesses the language competence needed to communicate in routine, everyday and professional situations on an elementary basis. It focuses on the simple and direct exchange of information on familiar issues. This exam is for learners aged 14 and over and is also offered as the Österreich-Variante (= Z-Variante) for migrants to Austria.
The ÖSD A2 GD2 and all higher ÖSD certificates (B1 to C2) are also accepted as proof of language ability, according to the Integration Agreement (IA 2011, Module 1).
B1 Zertifikat Deutsch Österreich (B1 ZDÖ) – The ÖSD exam B1 Zertifikat Deutsch Österreich (ZDÖ) is aimed at migrants to Austria aged 16 and over and assesses the ability of independent language use in everyday and professional situations, in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and the Rahmencurriculum for Integrationcourses (Goethe Institut). All texts and situations within the exam cover the daily life in Austria.The emphasis is on communicative competence but attention is also paid to formal accuracy.
The ÖSD exam B1 ZDÖ is conducted by the ÖSD and was developed from the exam B1 Zertifikat Deutsch which was a joint product in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, telc GmbH and the Center for Language Learning and Research at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.
Zertifikat B1 (modular, ZB1) - Equivalent to CEFR Level B1 (Treshold)
Zertifikat B1 (modular) assesses the ability to use the language in familiar, everyday situations (work, school, leisure time, travel etc.). This exam is also offered as a module-based exam in which the exam modules for reading comprehension, listening comprehension, writing skills and speaking can be taken independently of each other at different points of time. The exam was developed in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut and is available to both learners aged 16 and over and young people aged 12 and over.
B2 Mittelstufe Deutsch (B2 MD) - Equivalent to CEFR Level B2 (Vantage)
B2 Mittelstufe Deutsch assesses language competence in (semi-)public, professional and educational (school, university) situations, in addition to everyday situations. This exam is for learners aged 16 and over and is also available in a version for young people aged 14 and over.
C1 Oberstufe Deutsch (C1 OD) - Equivalent to CEFR Level C1 (Effective Operational Proficiency)
C1 Oberstufe Deutsch assesses the competent use of language in complex social and professional situations, characterized by a high degree of accuracy, correctness and situation-specific appropriateness. This exam is for learners aged 16 and over.
C2 Wirtschaftssprache Deutsch (C2 WD) - Equivalent to CEFR Level C2 (Mastery)
C2 Wirtschaftssprache Deutsch assesses both general and professional language ability in complex business and professional situations, characterized by a high degree of accuracy, correctness and situation-specific appropriateness. This exam is for learners aged 16 and over.
Exams for children and young learners
Each of these exams includes tasks testing reading comprehension, listening comprehension, writing and speaking skills corresponding to the standards of the “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages” (CEFR) and detailed in “Profile deutsch”. The texts and topics are suitable for the target group.
A1 Kompetenz in Deutsch 1 (A1 KID1) - Equivalent to CEFR Level A1 (Breakthrough)
A1 Kompetenz in Deutsch 1 assesses the language competence of children and young learners in private, school-related and semi-public situations. This exam is directed at young people aged 10 to 14.
A2 Kompetenz in Deutsch 2 (A2 KID2) - Equivalent to CEFR Level A2 (Waystage)
A2 Kompetenz in Deutsch 2 assesses the language competence of children and young learners in private, school-related and semi-public situations. It focuses on the simple and direct exchange of information on familiar issues. This exam is directed at younger people aged 10 to 14.
The Zertifikat B1 for young learners (between the ages of 12 and 16) corresponds to the B1 Zertifikat Deutsch for adults and differs only in the topics that have been adapted to adolescents and young people. A young lerners' version of the ÖSD exam Zertifikat Deutsch Österreich will also be available for young people aged 12 to 16. This is in addition to young learners' versions of the ÖSD exams B2 Mittelstufe Deutsch and C1 Oberstufe Deutsch.
3 steps to getting an ÖSD Licence
A three-step procedure is required to be entitled to offer ÖSD exams.
The first step to getting a Licence is to apply for one using the forms provided by the ÖSD Central Office in Vienna. The application must be sent to the ÖSD Central Office, along with the CVs of each of the intended examiners. All documents must be approved by the ÖSD Committee.
The following prerequisites must be fulfilled and described in detail in the Licence application:
Appropriately qualified teaching staff must pass the ÖSD examiners basic training course and take part in regular further training. At least 2 teachers per examination centre must take part in a multi-day training programme for ÖSD examiners in order to become an authorised examiner.
Appropriate rooms and technical equipment that allow the exams to be carried out according to the guidelines.
Holding enough language courses with a sufficient number of exam candidates so that at least 1 exam can be organised per year.
Being willing to offer external candidates the opportunity to take the exam as well, depending upon availability. The ÖSD exams are in principle not dependent on whether the candidate is enrolled in any of the centre’s standard courses, however, the centre needs to ensure that it has sufficient internal candidates to offer 1 exam a year.
Designation of a head examiner and a substitute head examiner.
Submission of the Licence application with all the required documentation.
Payment of the Licence fees, including:
a) annual Licence fee;
b) a proportion of the exam fee (processing fee);
c) training fees for the examiners.
Licences will be granted after all the above points have been approved by the ÖSD Central Office and the ÖSD Committee.
The ÖSD Central Office and the ÖSD Committee decide which Licence status (Status A-D) the centre will receive after approving the application.
The first exam after the Licence has been granted is carried out in the presence and with the support of an ÖSD representative. The ÖSD Central Office will then decide whether subsequent exams may be carried out.
Before the Licence is granted, the ÖSD Central Office and the centre decide whether the centre will act as an a) open centre or b) closed centre:
a) open centre: The centre accepts internal candidates (course participants) and external candidates (non-course participants).
b) closed centre: The centre may only accept internal candidates, i.e. participants of courses offered at the centre.
Once the application has been approved, the centre finalises the Licence contract with the ÖSD Central Office in Vienna and pays the Licence and training fees within 2 months of the licence being granted at the very latest.
Licence fees: The amount paid for a Licence which is valid for one year, is set by the ÖSD central office before the contract is finalised, and is dependent on the location and the licence status (see above) of the centre.
Training fees for examiners: The centre pays a fixed fee to the ÖSD for examiner training, the cost of which is country specific.
Once the Licence contract has been finalised, the examination centre will be sent a pack with materials which can be used for exam preparation, a folder with all the necessary information for exam organisation (including a password for members of the ÖSD examination centres), the ÖSD logo in electronic form as well as an ÖSD stamp. The examination dates for the current year are to set on consultation with the ÖSD central office.
More details are in the brochure "Lizenzleitfaden für ÖSD-Prüfungszentren" (Licence guidelines for ÖSD examination centres), which is available from the central office. This brochure can be ordered by phoning: + 43 / 1 / 319 33 95.
Evaluation, Validation and Psychometric Analyses
All ÖSD exams undergo established methods of quality and psychometric validation analysis including the following:
1. Qualitative analyses:
An external board of experts in the field of German as a second language and teachers offer feedback after pilot testing the exam.
Testing with mother tongue German speakers.
2. Pilot testing of each new set of exams, including psychometric analyses:
Reliability/internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha)
Factor analysis at sub-test level (Principal component analysis computed in SPSS)
Item fit statistics
Match of item – person measures
All psychometric analyses are done in co-operation with the Language Testing Centre (LTC) Klagenfurt under the supervision of Dr Günther Sigott. Examples of these analyses are available for anybody who is interested.