Today I came across a site about the Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (The European Certificate in Irish) or teg, which is the first and only examination system for adult learners of Irish. There will be six levels of exams from A1 (Beginner) to C2 (Advanced), though the Advanced ones are still being developed, and they test speaking, listening comprehension, reading comprehension and writing.
This test sounds similar to other language proficiency tests, such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and TEF (Test d’evaluation du Français), and provides proof of one’s Irish language abilities. The teg site, which is bilingual in Irish and English, provides detailed information about the exam, the syllabi, sample papers, and teaching materials.
If I was planning to search for a job in an Irish-speaking area or organisation, I’d consider taking the teg. For now, however, I’m content to continue my studies of Irish in a haphazard and relaxed way. I haven’t taken any other language proficiency tests and don’t plan to. Well, I did receive an assessment of a sort at the end on my Welsh course in Lampeter in June last year.
Such tests provide a snapshot of your language abilities at a particular point in time, and are usually taken after a lot of preparation. If the preparation involved last minute cramming, you might well forget much of it afterwards. I see learning a language more as a long term project, rather than something to cram and forget. Tests, qualifications and certificates can provide useful goals, though shouldn’t be seen as the end of your journey. There’s always more to learn.
Do you think such language tests are useful? Have you taken any, or do you plan to do so?