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University of Gothenburg

Information in English

National tests of foreign languages

The Swedish National Agency for Education has commissioned The "Nafs" project (Sw. "Nationella prov i Främmande Språk") at the University of Gothenburg (Dept. of Education) to produce, develop, and carry out research on the various national materials for assessment of foreign languages used within the Swedish school system.

General Principles

The national assessment material for the different languages is based on a set of basic principles.

Clarifying the national curricula

The material serves to clarify and exemplify the communicative and functional view of knowledge and language as expressed in the national curricula and syllabuses. Test specifications show the relationship between different tasks and the syllabus in focus. Furthermore, it is made clear which goals in the syllabus are not focused on in the test.

Supporting teachers’ assessment

The material is intended to provide support for teachers in their decisions regarding students' competences in relation to the national objectives and performance standards. Thus they are a complement to the continuous assessment carried out in the classroom. The material is intended to promote comparability and fairness within the national school system.

What is assessed

For each of the different languages the material includes tasks aimed at assessing receptive competence as well as oral and written production and interaction. Moreover, the intercultural goals in the syllabuses are reflected, for example, in the selection of themes and texts, and in the use of speakers from different backgrounds in the listening comprehension. Some of the material includes sections focusing on reflective competence, self-assessment and peer-assessment.

Authenticity and the target language

The general policy is to use texts and tasks which are as authentic as possible. All instructions to students are given in the target language, and students are required to use the target language only.

Students should be able to show what they know and can do

The material gives students the chance to show what they actually know and can do, as opposed to focusing on what they do not know or cannot do. In order to achieve this the material is extensive and varied, in both content and format. The aim is also to achieve a progression of difficulty both within and between tasks in the material.

The focus of the assessment

The basic focus of the assessment is students' willingness and ability to understand and convey meaning in a comprehensible way. Emphasis is put on strengths rather than on weaknesses. In the analysis of the latter a distinction is made between errors that [might] disturb communication and errors that actually do disrupt communication, i.e. between errors representing different degrees of gravity.

A collaborative method

Project personnel co-operate with other national and international institutions actively involved in issues of assessment and also collaborate with large national groups of practising teachers, teacher educators and researchers. All teachers and students who participate in the continuous piloting and large-scale pre-testing of different tasks, are asked to comment on different aspects of the material, thereby contributing substantially to the development of the different tests.

Project Coordinators for NAFS

AnnaKarin Lindqvist 
Frank Perrotte

Scientific Advisor

Gudrun Erickson (Professor of Education, Dept. of Education)

Current Materials

Stage refers to the seven general levels of language competence defined in the Swedish national syllabuses for foreign languages.

Compulsory school, special schools, basic adult education

Upper secondary school, adult education

Electronic test bank