General questions

Which level should be chosen?

The ALC is designed in three levels based approximately on hours of language learning. However, the hours of language learning should be considered only as a guide. The questions in the tests are not based on which year level students are in, but rather their familiarity with the language, based on how long they've been learning it, the nature of the classroom program and their opportunities to experience the language in use. 

  • 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 approximately 200 hours by August in the year of testing.
  • Certificate 3 is for students who have studied the target language for approximately 300 hours by August in the year of testing.
  • Certificates 1, 2 and 3 involve Listening and Reading tasks.

Sample materials provide a guide to the average degree of difficulty for each certificate level.

Note: The recommended study hours of target languages (as detailed for each level certificate above) should also be guided by teacher knowledge of student skills.

Who can participate in the ALC?

Primary and secondary school students studying Chinese (Additional/Second Language), French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek and Spanish can participate in and benefit from the ALC.

How is the ALC delivered?

Students take part in the ALC online. After testing, educators are provided with interactive reports containing accurate descriptors of students' proficiency levels. 

How long do the tests take to complete?

The advised times for each test are as follows:

Set up/administration (all certificates): 10 minutes

Listening: approximately 40 minutes

Reading: approximately 40 minutes

What are the benefits of the ALC?

ALC testing helps teachers assess their students' proficiency levels and track their progress across their school years. ALC testing also contributes to the promotion and celebration of languages education and gives students the opportunity to experience success by completing a languages challenge and receive an acknowledgement in the form of a competency certificate.

Who writes the tests?

The ALC tests are developed by languages educational professionals from Australia and overseas with many years of teaching experience. The tests undergo a strict developmental process which includes vetting, proof-reading and trialling before delivery. After delivery the tests are analysed by ACER expert psychometricians.



What do schools need to do to register?

Contact the ALC Team to express your interest. 

ALC Team: alc@acer.org


Taking the test

What are the technical requirements for implementing ALC online?

A DSL or cable internet connection (minimum 56Kbps) is required. The speed of your internet connection will determine the number of students that can sit a test at any one time. Minimum screen resolution is 1024 x 768. PC or laptop, Apple Mac and tablet devices such as iPads can be used. Tests are administered via the school’s web-based account using a web browser such as Internet Explorer – no programs need to be installed. Compatible browsers include Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer - Version 11 and above (with compatibility mode switched off). 

How will students access the Listening tasks in ALC online?

All students need headphones for the Listening component of ALC.

Can my students use a dictionary during the test?

Dictionaries may not be used.

Can I have a list of topics covered, so that I can teach these to my students?

We do not provide topic lists for the tests. These are confidential so that all students, regardless of state or country, have equal access to the materials in the test. We refer you to the available sample sheets (on this website) for an idea of the range of difficulty levels for your students, and for examples of topics.