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History

The ÖSD (Österreichisches Sprachdiplom Deutsch / Austrian German Language Diploma)


International exams for German as a Foreign Language

The ÖSD is a state-approved examination and assessment system for German as a Foreign Language / German as a Second Language.

ÖSD exams meet international requirements and are internationally recognised as proof of German language competence. As a successful and trend-setting language project, the ÖSD has been awarded the “European Label for Innovative Projects in Language Teaching and Learning”.

All ÖSD exams are communicatively oriented. First and foremost, they assess the candidates' linguistic and communicative competence of German in everyday, real-life situations. ÖSD exams are not linked in with any specific language courses and they are conducted and assessed along the same lines all over the world. The ÖSD supports a pluricentric view of languages: all standard varieties of German as spoken in Austria, Germany and Switzerland are taken into consideration.

ÖSD exams correspond to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and “Profile deutsch”.

The ÖSD was founded in 1992/1993 on the initiative of the ÖDAF by a working group headed by Dr. Robert Saxer, University of Klagenfurt. Supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMEIA, then BMaA), by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture (BMUKK) and by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research (BMWF), the ÖSD was set up as a project headed by Univ.-Prof. Hans Jürgen Krumm at the Department of German as a Foreign Language at the University of Vienna in 1994. It continued to develop in co-operation with renowned experts in the field of German as a Foreign Language. On 1st December 1994, the ÖSD became part of the Austria Co-operation (Österreich Kooperation), with the support of the above-mentioned federal ministries and other institutions (e.g. Austrian Chamber of Commerce, University of Klagenfurt etc.).
In 1998 the ÖSD was awarded the “European Label for Innovative Projects in Language Teaching and Learning” by the European Commission.
The ÖSD has been a registered association (Verein Österreichisches Sprachdiplom Deutsch) since the end of 2009.

The first examinations were held in 1995 at seven licensed examination centres. Nowadays, more than 40,000 ÖSD exams take place worldwide per year in about 380 licensed ÖSD examination centres. Currently the ÖSD offers 10 different tests at six different levels.