ALC Overview

What is the Assessment of Languages Competence?

The Assessment of Languages Competence (ALC) is a suite of tests, at different levels, designed to assess language competence in learners of Additional Languages.

Which languages and levels is the ALC delivered in?

The tests are offered in:

  • Chinese: Certificates 1 and 2 for Additional Languages Learners, and Certificate 2 for Background Speakers
  • French: Certificates 1, 2, 3 and Primary
  • German: Certificates 1, 2, 3 and Primary
  • Indonesian:  Certificates 1, 2, 3 and Primary
  • Italian: Certificates 1, 2, 3 and Primary
  • Japanese:  Certificates 1, 2, 3 and Primary
  • Modern Greek:  Certificate 1 and Primary
  • Spanish: Certificates 1 and 2

The tests are delivered online* in a multiple choice format. 

All students are encouraged to participate in the ALC.  NB:  Teachers, please advise as soon as possible if a student has a specific requirement e.g. Braille test.

What is included in the ALC?

  • ALC test materials, including test booklets and sound files.
  • Individual student certificates in a digital format.
  • An interactive school report available to order.

Who creates the ALC?

The tests are created every year, by well-known Languages educators from Australia and overseas, in line with the latest research in Languages Education.  The tests undergo a strict process of panelling, proof-reading and trialling before delivery.  After delivery the tests are analysed by ACER expert psychometricians. 

Benefits of ALC testing

ALC testing contributes to:

  • The promotion and celebration of Languages Education.
  • Tracking of student progress in Languages throughout their school years.
  • Providing an overview of a school's performance in relation to Languages.


The Primary Certificate is for students in the upper years of primary school e.g. grade 5 and 6.  It includes Listening, Reading and Vocabulary tasks.

Certificate 1 is for students who have studied the target language for approximately 100 hours by August in the year of testing. 

Certificate 2 is for students who have studied the target language for between 100 and 200 hours by August in the year of testing.

Certificate 3 candidates should have received between 200 and 300 hours of language instruction by August in the year of testing.

Certificates 1, 2 and 3 involve Listening and Reading tasks.

* Only schools which are currently on the ALC database will be able to choose to continue with the hard copy tests. Please refer to the ALC Pencil and Paper page on our website. For new schools, test delivery will be online.