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The "NAFS" project

National tests of foreign languages

The Swedish National Agency for Education has commissioned The "NAFS" project (Sw. "NAtionella prov i Främmande Språk") at University of Gothenburg (Dept. of Education) to produce, develop, and carry out research on the various national materials for assessment of foreign languages used within the Swedish school system.

For information about the Swedish school system and the grading system, see: www.skolverket.se (and scroll down) or sweden.se >Education in Sweden

For further information, see Erickson, G. (2017) National assessment of foreign languages in Sweden.

In spite of partly differing aims, the assessment materials are all based on a set of general principles:

  • The materials are to be seen as a means of clarifying the communicative and functional view of knowledge and language as expressed in the national curricula and syllabuses. In all materials test specifications show the relationship between different tasks and the syllabus in focus. Furthermore, it is made clear which goals in the syllabus are not focused on in the test.
  • The materials are intended to provide support for teachers in their decisions regarding students' competencies in relation to the national goals and grading criteria. Thus they have a complementary function in the continuous assessment carried out in the classroom.
  • The materials are intended to enhance comparability and fairness within the school system by facilitating equal interpretations of the nationally decided goals and criteria.
  • All test materials comprise subtests which in different ways highlight the assessment of students' oral and written receptive, productive and interactive competencies. Moreover, the materials are influenced by the intercultural goals in the syllabuses, through, for example, the choice of themes and texts, and the use of different accents in the subtests focusing on listening comprehension. In, or in connection with, some of the materials, there are sections focusing on reflective competence, self-assessment and peer assessment.
  • The general policy is to use texts and tasks which are as authentic as possible.
  • All instructions to students are given in the target language, and students are required to use the target language only.
  • In the materials students are given the chance to show what they know and can do, not primarily what they do not know or cannot do; this implies, e.g., that the materials are extensive and varied, both concerning content and format.
  • The aim is to create progression of difficulty both within each task and between different tasks in the materials.
  • The basic focus of the assessment is students' willingness and ability to understand and convey messages in a comprehensible way. Strong points are analysed before weaker points. A distinction is made between errors that [might] disturb communication and errors that actually disrupt communication, i.e. between errors representing different degrees of gravity.
  • The developmental process is distinctly collaborative; project personnel co-operate with other national and international institutions actively involved in issues of assessment, and also with large national groups of practising teachers, teacher educators and researchers. In connection with continuous piloting and large-scale pre-testing of different tasks, all participating teachers and students are asked to comment on different aspects of the materials, thus contributing substantially to the development of the different tests.

Project Coordinators for NAFS

AnnaKarin Lindqvist annakarin.lindqvist@ped.gu.se 
Frank Perrotte frank.perrotte@ped.gu.se

Scientific Advisor

Gudrun Erickson (Professor of Education, Dept. of Education)

Current Materials

Stage refers to the seven general levels of language competence defined in the Swedish national syllabuses for foreign languages.

Compulsory school, special schools, basic adult education

  • Subject test of English, grade 6 (Stage 2)
    (including material for self-assessment)
  • Diagnostic material of English for grades 1-6 (Stages 1-2)
    (including material for self-assessment and teacher's documentation)
  • Diagnostic material of English for grades 7-9 (Stages 2-4)
    (including material for self-assessment)
  • Subject test of English, grade 9 (Stage 4)

Upper secondary school, adult education

Electronic test bank

Materials for assessment of partial competencies
(oral and written interaction and production)

  • French, Stage 2
  • German, Stage 2
  • Spanish, Stage 2
  • English 7, (Stage 7)


NAFS shortcuts

Contact Information

Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik

Box 300, 405 30 Göteborg

Visiting Address:
Pedagogen hus A, Västra Hamngatan 25

031-786 0000 (vx)

031-786 2070

Page Manager: Marianne Demaret|Last update: 8/7/2018

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