Back in July of 2015, the director of the Instituto Cervantes, Víctor García de la Concha, and the rectors of the Universidad Autónoma de México and the Universidad de Salamanca, José Narro and Daniel Hernández Ruipérez, presented a new exam: the SIELE (Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española).
It was exciting news for Spanish students and educators because there had been a lack of an accessible, adaptive test to measure Spanish language ability massively, easily and affordably. The previous standard for testing has been the DELE – which a great exam – but one that is onerous and expensive to provide due to the necessary involvement of a trained test-giver in-situ. On the other hand, the SIELE will be delivered on-line – eliminating distances and simplifying administration – and making it a much more attractive option to potential test-takers. At Web Spanish, we applaud this improvement. After all, in an interconnected world where students can easily take Spanish courses on line, why not offer them the same convenience when it comes to testing? This new exam will be empowering to independent learner and its development shows a great deal of vision and foresight demonstrated by the Instituto Cervantes and its partners.
Since the initial announcement in July, more details have been released and we can begin to answer some important questions about the exam.
So then, what is the SIELE?
The SIELE is an exam that will be provided on five continents, and throughout the year. Test takers will receive their results three weeks after having seated the exam. In the case that they complete the test in its entirety, they will receive a certificate, but they also have the option to sit a portion of the exam only, and in this case they´ll just receive a graded report.
The SIELE tests four communicative competencies. If the test-taker chooses to take the entire exam in one sitting, it will last three hours (not including one 15-minute break).
• Reading comprehension (60 minutes)
• Listening comprehension (55 minutes)
• Written expression (50 minutes)
• Oral expression (15 minutes)
Remember, test takes can opt to take the exam in parts. In this case, they would choose between the following options:
• Reading and Listening
• Reading and Writing
• Listening and Writing
• Writing and Speaking
Whether the test taker chooses to take the entire test in one sitting, or whether she takes the exam into parts, the results will arrive in only 3 weeks. The exam is scored based on based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, an international standard that is easily recognized and understood by potential employers and centers of study alike.
So, in summary, the SIELE is a great, flexible exam that will give test takers an objective measurement of their achievements quickly, and in a format that they can easily use in job and university applications. It responds to changing needs and we expect it to be well received in all markets. Kudos to all involved in the development and launch of this wonderful new tool!