What is the DELF?
The DELF/DALF is the French equivalent of the English proficiency test TOEFL*, but the tests for these two languages are quite different.
TOEFL certification, which is offered by Educational Testing Services, requires that candidates take a 2- to 4-hour test, after which they receive a TOEFL score indicating their level of proficiency.
In contrast, DILF/DELF/DALF certification consists of multiple levels. Rather than a score, DILF/DELF/DALF candidates work to obtain one of seven diplômes from the Ministère de l’Éducation nationale, de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche:
- DELF A1 (grades 5 – 8)
- DELF A2 (grades 9/10)
- DELF B1 (grades 11/12)
Each of these certificates tests the four language proficiencies (reading, writing, listening, and speaking), based on the levels of the Cadre européen de référence pour les langues.
There is no score; the French speaker’s proficiency is identified by the highest certificate s/he has obtained.
The diplomas are independent, meaning you do not need to take all seven – proficient speakers can start at whatever higher level they qualify for. Younger French learners are offered similar but separate tests: DELF, version junior and DELF scolaire.