The AICLU project for 
Linguistic Competence Certification  
in Italian Universities




 The CERCLU Project 

There is a need to establish a system of certification with the same structure for all Italian language centres and, as far as possible, for all European centres. The Association of Italian University Language Centres, AICLU (Associazione Italiana dei Centri Linguistici Universitari)  is presently promoting this vital operation, partly as a way of meeting the requirements of the reform of the university course structure  outlined in the university legislation which  has recently  become operative. The Italian component of the project consists of the representatives of nine university language centres, all of them members of AICLU, most of whom are part of the steering committee. Their purpose is to create a common system for testing language proficiency, with the outside support of AICLU itself. The group, which also acts as the AICLU commission formed to provide a solution to the problem of language certification in Italian Language Centres, has chosen Padua as the coordinating site for  piloting the system which will be created. AICLU is in fact greatly interested in making available to the member university language centres a system of testing of the levels of proficiency in foreign languages (including Italian as a foreign language). The levels to be certified are those established by the Council of Europe as Level B1 (Threshold Level) and Level B2 (Vantage). Since they are based on targets fixed at a European level (Threshold and Vantage), the tests resulting from this project can be administered in different environments and with different purposes: as entrance tests, placement tests, pass tests, evaluation at the end of a course for which the objectives set correspond to the same European level, external evaluation of the quality of language learning. A large database of validated testing items will be created which will be used following established protocols to create the tests to be administered in the individual centres. Each item will have a score so that the person examined can be given clear information about their position relative to the level of the certification. For both of the levels test modules are being created corresponding to the four communicative skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) which can be evaluated separately. Some differentiation is being introduced between tests according to the disciplinary macro-area of the candidate (humanities, social sciences, physical sciences). Even though the final purpose is to extend the system of certification to other languages, in the first stage of the project it is  limited to English and Italian. The fact of basing the levels of testing and certification on the European parameters makes it possible to insert the Italian tests into a system of reciprocal recognition with those of the other countries in which the same parameters are accepted and a suitable method is applied. The Italian project will be developed in close connection with analogous projects developed by other members of CERCLES such as the AKS (the association of German language centres) UNICERT Project which is at present in use in Germany and the CLES project, presently being developed by RANACLES (the French association of university language centres), as the aim is to obtain full European recognition.

The certification issued by the Italian language centres which adopt the system proposed in this project will be recognised by their non-Italian partners, who will themselves use systems which have been agreed in common. The Italian language centres which adopt the system will in turn accept the certification issued by their non-Italian partners, adopting systems that have been agreed on. This project makes it possible to begin a job of internationalisation which should  consolidate and develop thanks to the acquisition of further funds and further reciprocal agreements.





Duration and Phases