Motivating language learners through certification: the French

Author(s): Daniel Toudic
Institution/Organisation: Université Rennes 2 (FR)


This case study looks at a national HE language certification scheme now being implemented at a number of French universities. The Certificat de langues de l'enseignement supérieur or "CLES" is a CEFR-based certificate designed to test five areas of language competence (aural comprehension, reading, writing, speaking and interaction) at three CEFR levels. It is now being used to test skills in six different languages, although English is still by far the dominant language, accounting for 83% of the results in 2009.

The aim of the CLES is both to enhance student motivation in language learning by providing a clear evaluation of the student's communicative competence in one or several languages, and to encourage the definition of clear learning outcomes which in turn lead to more focused and innovative teaching practices.
It is now being implemented at over 20 universities and is increasingly seen as a key element of institutional language policy.

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