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Beyond Accepted Standards: Past, Present and Future of the German UniCert Language Teaching System by Dr Peter Tischer

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A presentation given by one of the keynote speakers at the 17th Association of University Language Centres Conference on 7th-8th January 2016.

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Beyond Accepted Standards: Past, Present and Future of the German UniCert Language Teaching System by Dr Peter Tischer

  1. 1. Beyond Accepted Standards Past, Present, and Future of the German UNIcert® Language Teaching System 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 1
  2. 2. UNIwhat? What’s the idea behind UNIcert? What does UNIcert look like? What (and who) is UNIcert good for? Whither UNIcert? 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 2
  3. 3. One for all Basic idea of UNIcert® > 1 curriculum with academic focus > 1 certificate > 1 set of standards > ... for all language centers & all languages 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 3
  4. 4. All for one? 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 4 > 16 states > 16 X educational autonomy > 16 ministries of education > 16 High school exams > 16 higher education laws
  5. 5. Not an (only) exam. UNIcert® is a framework and a network > a comprehensive training, examination and certification system of foreign languages for general and specific purposes, specifically designed for higher education institutions. > a widely recognized qualification for students. > a means to develop and monitor language programs. > a service offer provided by AKS > a QMS > a „MOT test“ of language teaching and in HE 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 5
  6. 6. Structure AKS e.V. is the official agency and owner of UNICert® UNIcert® Committee (20 members) > oversees development > organizes activities > conducts audits and awards accreditations Accredited Institutions > organize and conduct language training along UNIcert® guidelines > design and grade exams > issue the certificates 2 Offices (Dresden & Göttingen) > permanent contact > administrative work 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 6
  7. 7. Accreditation Requirements Formal rules > Organizational structure > Regular staff for each accredited language > Maximum of 25 students per course > Checked attendance 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 7
  8. 8. The UNIcert®-Framework Unicert® Course Program Requirements > 4 defined levels (I–IV) > 120—180 contact hours / level (minimum) > Placement tests > Graded course exams > Comprehensive final exams for Levels III and IV > All 4 skills equally taught and tested 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 8
  9. 9. Current Accreditation Cycle Reaccreditation for 5 years Submission of a comprehensive report Reaccreditation for 5 years On site Audit Reaccreditation for 5 years Submission of a comprehensive report Reaccreditation for 5 years On site Audit Initial Accreditation for 3 years Based on submitted Dossier 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 9
  10. 10. 10 Years After UNIcert was launched in 1992 > Mr. UNIcert: Prof. Bernd Voss, TU Dresden > CEFR avant la lettre By the year 2002 > About 40 accredited Institutions > Over 9.000 reported awarded certificates > Publication of the 1st UNIcert®-Handbook (1998) 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 10
  11. 11. What institutions get out of it > A framework plus academic freedom > peer quality control > peer support > institutional support > self-reflection > high quality teaching 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 11
  12. 12. What students get out of it > high quality teaching > homogenous groups > comparable level and program structures across languages > inter-university mobility > a broad range of (vocational) programs > detailed university certificates 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 12
  13. 13. SAMPLE CERTIFICATE 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 13
  14. 14. SAMPLE CERTIFICATE 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 14
  15. 15. How students obtain a certificate Obtention of detailed certificate with course record Cumulative assessment based on course results or Final examination in all 4 skills Regular course attendance (120–180hrs) Workload 360–540hrs Placement 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 15
  16. 16. Activities and Adjustments The UNIcert® Committee continuously revises and reforms the System > Alignment with CEFR I/B1 – IV/C2 > New Level UNIcert Basis A2 > Research Publications > Sample Tests > PR Material and Newsletter > Workshops and Trainings 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 16
  17. 17. Recent developments > Cooperation with German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) > Spinoff FOBIcert (Teacher Training Certificate) > International expansion > Angers (F), Kufstein (A), Tiflis (GA) > UNIcert LUCE Franchise in Slovakia 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 17
  18. 18. The UNIcert® Map 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 18
  19. 19. Accreditation 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 19 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Accredited Centers
  20. 20. Certificates Awarded 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 20 0 20000 40000 60000 80000 100000 120000 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 reported examinations
  21. 21. Success Story In short > 105 000 exams at more than 50 university language centers. > Around 6 000 examinees per year > Offered in over 25 Languages > Curriculae focussed on higher education > Setting standards yet flexible > UNIcert is great. The ideal blueprint for all language center exam systems. End of story. Or is it? 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 21
  22. 22. Audits Elaborate procedure > 2 auditors, 1 assistant > 2 days > interviews and reviews Measures > Standardized report forms > New UNIcert coordinating position > Annual fee 100€  500€ 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 22
  23. 23. A question for the future Can we still expect 4 skills at an equal level with > more students, > less study time, > changing learning habits, > and more different languages required?? 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 23
  24. 24. Connect four UNIcert requires equal proficiency in all 4 skills. We‘re in good company: > Cambridge (English) > Goethe (German) > DELF/DALF (French) > DELE (Spanish) > CELI/CILS/PLIDA (Italian) > TORFL (Russian) > HSK (Chinese) > TELC (several languages, at community colleges) > School exams (several languages) 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 24
  25. 25. Are skills really developed at the same pace? 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 26 He has... > B2 speaking skills > C1 Listening skills > NO Reading and Writing skills Does this mean... > insufficient communicative Competencies? > no solid basis for further language learning? > No carreer prospects?
  26. 26. And you? How’s your Portugese? Não fala Português? Lede!: „Os exames produzidos pelo CAPLE constituem o Sistema de Avaliação e Certificação de Português Língua Estrangeira reconhecido pelo Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros, através do Instituto Camões, e pelo Ministério da Educação.“ > Can’t use this professionally? > Can’t build on this? > Uncertifiable knowledge? 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 27
  27. 27. Learner centered curriculae and profiles 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 29 A German psychologist > will read complex English articles regularly > almost never speaks English, only sometimes as a passive conference visitor > needs reading skills B2/C1 + x & oral skills A2/B1 A British businessman > Has to establish personal relationships with people of various origins. > leaves contracts – which are in English anyway – to his lawyers > needs oral skills A2 (but in which dialect?), cultural skills B2, no written skills
  28. 28. Skills Profile Listening C2 Speaking C2 Reading C2 Writing C2 Culture C2 Learning C2 Listening C1 Speaking C1 Reading C1 Writing C1 Culture C1 Learning C1 Listening B2 Speaking B2 Reading B2 Writing B2 Culture B2 Learning B2 Listening B1 Speaking B1 Reading B1 Writing B1 Culture B1 Learning B1 Listening A2 Speaking A2 Reading A2 Writing A2 Culture A2 Learning A2 Listening A1 Speaking A1 Reading A1 Writing A1 Culture A1 Learning A1 Listening C2 Speaking C2 Reading C2 Writing C2 Culture C2 Listening C1 Speaking C1 Reading C1 Writing C1 Culture C1 Listening B2 Speaking B2 Reading B2 Writing B2 Culture B2 Listening B1 Speaking B1 Reading B1 Writing B1 Culture B1 Listening A2 Speaking A2 Reading A2 Writing A2 Culture A2 Listening A1 Speaking A1 Reading A1 Writing A1 Culture A1
  29. 29. New Skills Test Formats Example Listening Comprehension ☐ ☐ ☐ ☐ ☐  ?
  30. 30. Modularized Coursebooks for modularized programs
  31. 31. Variable Learning Spaces
  32. 32. Moving on Unicert® is > a well established system, > a success, > and work in progress. 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 34
  33. 33. Thank you for your attention! 8 January 2016 Peter Tischer, Saarbrücken 35 UNIcert® website www.unicert-online.org Peter Tischer, contact details p.tischer@szsb.uni-saarland.de

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