Find us on Facebook

KPG: National exams for the (Greek) state certificate of language proficiency

Administrating Organisation & Partners (Countries) / languages involved

The Greek Ministry of Education and Lifelong Learning is responsible for the administration of the National Exams for the State Certificate of Language Proficiency, which is known as KPG (a Greek acronym). The examination board, composed of seven language testing experts, is appointed by the Minister of Education

Partners: Foreign Language Departments of the Universities of Athens and Thessaloniki are responsible for preparing the standardized exams. They build up the test and item banks and carry out extended research on related issues

Languages: The languages involved in the KPG project presently are: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Turkish



Administrating Organisation & Partners (Countries) / languages involved

The Greek Ministry of Education and Lifelong Learning is responsible for the administration of the National Exams for the State Certificate of Language Proficiency, which is known as KPG (a Greek acronym). The examination board, composed of seven language testing experts, is appointed by the Minister of Education.

Partners: Foreign Language Departments of the Universities of Athens and Thessaloniki are responsible for preparing the standardized exams. They build up the test and item banks and carry out extended research on related issues.

Languages: The languages involved in the KPG project presently are: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Turkish.

 

Project Location(s) (Country) & Duration

The project is being carried out in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Duration: 2002 to the present.

 

Please specify the Target Group(s) of the project

• The KPG is targeted to Greek and other citizens living, studying and/or working in Greece.

• Constituting proficiency (rather than achievement) testing, the exams do not measure school gained knowledge, but language performance –regardless of where one learned or acquired the target language.

• The A level KPG exams are designed for young learners

• B and C level exams are designed for adolescents and adults.

 

Topics / aims of the project

• Bearing in mind that “in a multicultural Europe, with its linguistic diversity and variety of institutions, it is essential for citizens to have language qualifications which are recognised by all,”a new suite of national exams, known as KPG, was developed, leading to the certification of different levels of language proficiency in various European languages. This suite has been built taking into account the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, respecting that it provides a common basis for the recognition of qualifications in all member states. Certification occurs on the scale set by the Council of Europe.

• Recognising the importance of languages, and believing that degrees of literacy in several languages help us address the challenges of globalisation, increased mobility and immigration, in this new suite of language exams, all languages are tested and assessed on the basis of common specifications and test formats.

• Believing that certified language proficiency is essential for employability and that bi-, tri- or plurilinguals, acting as intercultural mediators, are a precious asset to Europe, the exams lead to low cost language proficiency certification (lower than in any international exam), in various languages (not just those which can afford to develop international exams).

 

Financing

By the Greek state and the Social European Fund

 

Contact / Website

1) Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning & Religious Affairs, Directorate for the Certification of Language Proficiency, 37 Andrea Papandreou Street, GR – 151 80 Maroussi, Athens

2) National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Philosophy, University Campus Zographou, GR 15784, Athens

Faculty of English Studies, Faculty of German Studies, Faculty of Spanish Studies, Faculty of Turkish and Asian Studies

 

3) Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Philosophy

Faculty of French Studies, Faculty of Italian Studies

 

Main reason(s) why your project is a best practice example

It has led to the development of a system which:

  • Endorses and supports multilingualism and plurilingual citizenry
  • Is concerned with the language user – rather than the language itself (as international exams unavoidably are).
  • Because of the project, a global system has been created; i.e., a system that takes into account local needs, global conditions of knowledge and production, and international concerns regarding testing and assessment.
  • It has facilitated conditions so as to include an innovative aspect of intercultural communication, for the KPG is the only language exam battery to date which tests mediation performance; performance that entails relaying messages from one language to another but that is distinct from translation. Operating as a mediator between cultures, languages, discourses and texts requires strategies not necessarily taught but required for effective citizenry in multicultural and multilingual societies.
  • The project has offered possibilities for extended and systematic research on:
  • the input and the output of the exams in the different languages tested through KPG so as to make reliable comparisons
  • the profile of KPG candidates, their attitudes and opinions regarding test papers in each of the languages
  • the quality of the oral test in English, the validity of speaking and mediation tasks, examiner attitudes toward the test and specific activities, and examiner conduct and communication strategies
  • the quality of script evaluation, ways that script raters use evaluation criteria, sustainable inter-rater
  • reliability, and characteristics of scripts which systematically cause serious problems in inter-rater reliability.
  • Also, it has created ground for academic research on issues such as the following:
  • The effect of text and reader variables on reading comprehension and the effect of listener audio text variables in the KPG exams
  • Different world representations and ideologies in the reading texts of different exam batteries in English
  • Interlocutor performance variability at different exam levels and in different KPG language exams
  • Writing and listening task difficulty and the effect of task and assessment variables
  • Mediation tasks and mediation performance by Greek users of English
  • Source text regulated written mediation performance in the KPG exams resulting in hybrid formations
  • Corpus-based research of text grammar in KPG candidates’ scripts
  • Investigating literacy requirements of reading and listening comprehension tasks in the KPG English and French exams
  • Effective listening comprehension test-taking strategies in the KPG exams

 

Project Objectives and Description

The project has led to the development of the KPG exams, in which candidates between the ages of 10 to 70 (!) take part, wanting to be certified as:

Basic users of a European language through an integrated A1+A2 level exam, whose purpose is to motivate young language learners to build their language learning skills and language testing strategies.

Independent users of a European language through separate exams at levels B1 and B2.

Proficient users of a language through separate exams at C1 level and soon also at C2 level.

The B and C level exams are for adults needing to have qualifications for studies and/or employment inside or outside Greece.

 

The tests measure performance on the basis of:

  • Reading comprehension and language awareness
  • Writing production and written mediation
  • Listening comprehension
  • Oral production, spoken interaction and oral mediation.
  • The project has also involved among other actions:
  • The design of tools to measure test quality and effectiveness
  • The development of candidate script corpora
  • The development of tools and systems for the quantitative and qualitative analysis of data
  • The development of different applications for the management of data and resources
  • The systematic training of a total of 7.000 examiners in the different languages and about 600 script raters.

 

Project objectives

The socially sensitive objectives of the KPG exams are the following:

 

They are affordable to everyone as the KPG does not aim at material profit or symbolic gain their point of reference is not the language as an autonomous meaning system but language use in particular social contexts in ways that are based on social needs and which are socially meaningful. Founded on the view that all European languages are of equal value, they are treated as such. They make full use of the literacies test takers have in (at least) two languages. They promote the parallel use of languages and intercultural awareness.

 

Sustainability

Is a continuation of the Project foreseen?

Yes, the project will continue and, as the system develops, it is the intention of the Greek state to include standardized exams:

• for more European languages

• for different social groups

The follow-up Project will include:

- The development of integrated exams, so that the KPG is even more cost-effective both for the state and the candidates.

- The development of adaptive tests to be taken on and off-line.

- Tests which cater for candidates with special needs and particularly the hearing and the visually impaired.

 

Give another good practice example you know of

The Bilingual-Bicultural Programme for the Education of Muslim Children in Greece, with the motto MULTIPLICATION NOT DIVISION, which followed Action Line 1: Promotion of equality in

accessing the labour market for all and especially for those in danger of social exclusion, Measure 1.1: Improvement of the conditions under which persons of special categories could integrate into the educational system, Action Category 1.1.1.a :

Integration of children from target-groups --Muslims, Roma, Returnees, Foreigners, and Ethnic Greeks from Abroad –into school, Activity 1.1.1: Integration of children with distinct cultural and language characteristics into the educational system.

 

Websites

http://www.kpg.ypepth.gr/

RESEARCH CENTRE FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING, TESTING AND ASSESSMENT

» Add a comment

22/05/2012
HD by galazio

I would like to be better informed about the KPG project and perhaps to be involved in it. I am a Scot [ex language teacher] now living in Skopelos where there is a great need for an improved ... and cheaper exam system. Can you advise? Many thanks, HD
European Council of Literary Translators' Associations Culturelink European Publishers Council
Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) Europa Esperanto Unio - EEU Eurolang
EUROCLIO European Theatre Convention EEE-YFU
European Federation of National Institutions for Language RECIT Federal Union of European Nationalities
Literature Across frontiers Federation of European Publishers Fundación Academia Europea de Yuste
Mercator European Network of Language Diversity Centres EUNIC in Brussels European Coordination of Independent Producers (CEPI)
European Association for Terminology European Forum of Vocational Education and Training Club de Madrid
CMFE (Community Media Forum Europe) ALTE European Council of Artists (ECA)
European Federation for Intercultural Learning European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE)

"(c) 05/02/2011 - Disclaimer - Copyright European Union National Institutes for Culture" "This website has been funded with support from the European Commission. " This website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Newsletter

Stay informed of Poliglotti4.eu

The world is one country -- everybody wants to communicate with others, which is why it's so important to know more languages.

Farshad Kholghi Denmark

Twitter