ALCE Scoring and Results

Explanation of Scoring

The four sections of the Advanced Level Certificate in English (ALCE™) examination are scored using an advanced mathematical model (IRT). For each section of the examination, raw scores are converted into scaled scores ranging from 0 to 100.

Scaled scores allow each administration of the examination to be equated, ensuring that the ability required to pass or to achieve a high score remains the same from one administration to the next.

The ALCE™ is a multi-level examination with scores equated to the C1 and C2 levels.

The Listening Section & the Reading & Use of Language (RUL) Section

For the Listening and RUL Sections, scaled scores are a product of the ability of each candidate and the difficulty of each item in these sections.

To pass the Listening or RUL Section at C1 level, candidates must have a scaled score of at least 55 out of 100 for that section and to achieve C2 level, candidates must have a scaled score of at least 74 out of 100 for that section.

Writing Section

For the Writing Section, the difficulty of the task as well as the leniency and/or severity of the raters have been incorporated in the scaled scores. The Writing Section is scored out of a total of 15 marks. There are three criteria: Task Completion, Organization, and Linguistic Resources. Each criterion provides between one and five marks. To pass the Writing Section of the ALCE™ examination at C1 level, candidates must have a scaled score of at least 55 out of 100, approximately equivalent to a raw score of 8 out of 15. To achieve a pass at C2 level, candidates must have a scaled score of at least 74 out of 100, approximately equivalent to a raw score of 11 out of 15.

Speaking Section

For the Speaking Section, the difficulty of the task as well as the leniency and/or severity of the raters have been incorporated in the scaled scores. The Speaking Section is scored out of a total of 15 marks. There are three criteria: Task Completion, Fluency and Interaction, and Linguistic Resources. Each criterion provides between one and five marks. To pass the Speaking section of the ALCE™ examination at C1 level, candidates must have a scaled score of at least 55 out of 100, approximately equivalent to a raw score of 8 out of 15. To achieve a pass at C2 level, candidates must have a scaled score of at least 74 out of 100, approximately equivalent to a raw score of 11 out of 15.

Cut scores

The cut scores for each section of the ALCE™ examination have been determined through standard setting procedures, as laid out in the Council of Europe manual: ‘Relating Language Examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR): A Manual’ (2009).

Applying a mixed standard setting strategy, candidates who achieve an averaged total scaled score of at least 55 out of a possible 100 are awarded a certificate at C1 level. Candidates who achieve 74 out of a possible 100 are awarded a certificate at C2 level.

The ALCE™ certificate is valid for the holder’s lifetime, with the proviso for test users that a candidate’s language ability may improve or deteriorate in relation to their contact with the language.

SECTION SCALED SCORES

The table below shows the minimum scaled pass scores candidates need to pass each section of the ALCE™ examination at C1 level and at C2 level, and the minimum total average scaled score candidates need to receive a C1 or a C2 level certificate.

Section

Minimum scaled
pass score at
C1 level
(out of 100)
Minimum scaled
pass score at
C2 level
(out of 100)

Listening

55

74

RUL

55

74

Writing

55

74

Speaking

55

74

Total Average Scaled Score

55

74

Candidates who achieve an averaged total scaled score of at least 55 out of a possible 100 are awarded an ALCE™ certificate at C1 level, even though they may have failed one or more sections. Candidates who achieve an averaged overall scaled score of at least 74 out of 100 are awarded an ALCE™ certificate at C2 level, even though they may have lower scaled scores in one or more sections. However, candidates who fail to reach C1 level in any section cannot receive a certificate at C2 level. All candidates have the right to have any section of their examination re-scored.

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