DELF and DALF diplomas are internationally recognised certificates for French language skills. Each of the seven levels sets a minimum standard of French knowledge and skills, allowing them to be used as a benchmark in a number of situations. Those with the DALF are exempt from language entrance exams at French and Swiss Universities.
Because they certify a consistent standard of skills, the DELF and DALF diplomas are widely used by the labour market in recruitment and selection, and training and development programmes.
They are official diplomas, issued by the Centre International d’Etudes Pédogogiques (CIEP) of the French Ministry for Education (a Member of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE)).
DELF DALF Suisse reports to the French Embassy in Switzerland. All exams are prepared and distributed by the Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques(CIEP) (Centre for International Educational Studies) in France.
The CIEP is recognized both in France and abroad for its achievements in education, certification and international cooperation. The CIEP is aided in the accomplishment of this task by the efforts of over 200 people. Drawn from the French Ministry for Development, Tertiary Institutions and research directs their activities. These certification programmes, which are harmonised within the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), are internationally recognised and frequently used by foreign ministries responsible for education. They reflect level of ability in the four language skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing. To guarantee fairness between the candidates when awarding qualifications, only examiners and trainers that are qualified to manage the content and standardised procedures set out by the CIEP are permitted to assess candidates. Furthermore, to guarantee the quality of examination sessions, compliance checks may be carried out within approved test centres, in line with the procedures and criteria made available to the heads of the centre, for the purpose of self-assessment. The DILF (Diplôme initial en langue française) is for all non-francophone adults, aged 16 or over, with a minimum level of skill in French: absolute beginners and new arrivals in France. It validates level A1.1 of the CEFR.
The DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française) has five versions:
- DELF tout public “General public” for older teenagers and adults,
- DELF Prim for children of primary school age,
- DELF Junior for teenagers of secondary school age,
- DELF Scolaire “For schools” (secondary level) when an agreement has been signed with a country’s education authorities,
- DELF Pro for those doing vocational training or internships.
It validates levels A1.1 (DELF Prim only), A1, A2, B1 and B2 of the CEFR.
The DALF (Diplôme approfondi en langue française) is for experienced users. It validates levels C1 and C2 of the CEFR.
Characteristics of the DELF and the DALF
- All DELF DALF diplomas are independent from each other.
- DELF DALF diplomas are valid for life and all over the world.
- Skills are tested at each graduation DELF-DALF (oral and written expression, oral and written understanding).
(These numbers include overall personal time devoted to learning, not just lessons: homework, reading, writing, listening [watching movies, listening to a radio station, audio tapes, podcasts] other language websites or apps and interacting with other French speakers, through chat or activities)
DELF A1 - 80 hours from absolute beginner level A0
DELF A2 - 160 hours from beginner level A0 - 100 hours from DELF A1
DELF B1 - 310 hours from beginner level A0 - 150 hours from DELF A2
DELF B2 - 490 hours from beginner level A0 - 180 hours from DELF B1
DALF C1 - 690 hours from beginner level A0 - 200 hours from DELF B2
DALF C2 - 890 hours from beginner level A0 - 200 hours from DELF C1
The TCF (test de connaissance du français) is a certificate-based test. It accurately assesses listening and reading, as well as command of language structures. Candidates may also sit additional tests assessing speaking and writing.
The four version of the TDF are for:
- Those who want to assess their French skills for personal, academic or professional reasons (TCF for the “general public) ,
- Students who wish to enrol in the first year of a bachelor’s degree in a French university or school of architecture (TCF for university admission - TCF for the DAP) ,
- Those who wish to obtain French nationality by decree or by marriage (TCF for French nationality - TCF ANF) ,
- Those who wish to set up home in Quebec and are requesting a permanent visa. (TCF for Quebec).
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