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logo    The Principles Objectives of ALTE are:

To address issues of quality and fairness related to the examinations which the members provide. To establish common standards for all stages of the language-testing process and to adhere to those standards: that is, for test development, task and item writing, test administration, marking and grading, reporting of test results, test analysis and reporting of findings; to promote the transnational recognition of certification in Europe by reference to the common levels of proficiency established by ALTE members and the Common European Framework of Reference.

The ALTE Framework of Language Examinations is shown in table form below and includes the examinations provided by ALTE members at each of the six levels. All six ALTE levels are characterised in the summaries following the table and for Levels A2 and B1 reference is made to Waystage and Threshold. In general, the brief descriptions are divided into what the candidates can do receptively and what they can do in terms of production and interaction.

Standards Official

Professional Standards to teachers are sets of standards designed to raise the status and quality of the teaching profession. These standards outline the levels of competence which the beginning or accomplished teacher should be able to meet. They are based on two principles:

Professional standards are grounded in knowledge, experience, skills and values; teachers’ knowledge, experience, skills and values are, in important respects, discipline-specific. But the depth of knowledge and the range of skills an English teacher to teach well are different from the knowledge and skills required to teach other discipline B2 (ALTE Level Three).

Level Three may be referred to as an intermediate stage of proficiency. Users at this level are expected to be able to handle the main structures of the language with some confidence, demonstrate knowledge of a wide range of vocabulary and use appropriate communicative strategies in a variety of social situations. Their understanding of spoken language and written texts should go beyond being able to pick out items of factual information, and they should be able to distinguish between main and subsidiary points and between the general topic of a text and specific detail. They should be able to produce written texts of various types, showing the ability to develop an argument as well as describe or recount events. This level of ability allows the user a certain degree of independence when called upon to use the language in a variety of contexts. At this level the user has developed a greater flexibility and an ability to deal with the unexpected and to rely less on fixed patterns of language and short utterances. There is also a developing awareness of register and the conventions of politeness and degrees of formality as they are expressed through language.

Examinations at Level B2 are frequently used as proof that the learner can do office work or take a non-academic course of study in the language being learned, e.g. in the country where the language is spoken. Learners at this level can be assumed to have sufficient expertise in the language for it to be of use in clerical, secretarial and managerial posts, and in some industries, in particular tourism.

Productive Skills

Speaking:  In social and travel contexts, users at this level can deal with most situations that may arise in shops, restaurants, and hotels; for example, they can ask for a refund or for faulty goods to be replaced, and express pleasure or displeasure at the service given.

Writing:   In social and travel contexts, users at this level can write most kinds of letters connected with accommodation, and can also write personal letters on a limited range of predictable topics.

Reading:  In social and travel contexts, users at this level can read texts which are longer than the very brief signs, notices, etc. which are characteristic of what can be handled at the two lower levels.

Listening: In social and travel contexts, users at this level can cope with casual conversation on a fairly wide range of familiar.

Council of Europe levels




The capacity to deal with material which is academic or cognitively demanding, and to use language to good effect at a level of performance which may in certain respects be more advanced than that of an average native speaker.
Example: CAN scan texts for relevant information, and grasp main topic of text, reading almost as quickly as a native speaker.

All practice tests at this level


Effective Operational Proficiency

The ability to communicate with the emphasis on how well it is done, in terms of appropriacy, sensitivity and the capacity to deal with unfamiliar topics.
Example: CAN deal with hostile questioning confidently. CAN get and hold onto his/her turn to speak.

All practice tests at this level



The capacity to achieve most goals and express oneself on a range of topics.
Example: CAN show visitors around and give a detailed description of a place.
All practice tests at this level



The ability to express oneself in a limited way in familiar situations and to deal in a general way with nonroutine information.
Example: CAN ask to open an account at a bank, provided that the procedure is straightforward.

All practice tests at this level



An ability to deal with simple, straightforward information and begin to express oneself in familiar contexts.
Example: CAN take part in a routine conversation on simple predictable topics.
All exams and practice tests at this level



A basic ability to communicate and exchange information in a simple way.
Example: CAN ask simple questions about a menu and understand simple answers.