National German Exam FAQ

How many years has the AATG sponsored this program?

This is the forty-first year!

Why should I give the AATG test?

The tests are a diagnostic tool and can be used to create excitement and a sense of accomplishment inherent in test participation. They also provide a means of comparing your students to others in all regions of the country. The test results are among the criteria used in selecting the recipients of chapter awards as well as the national AATG/PAD study trip awards.

Who should take the AATG test?

Everyone in all of your level 2 through 4 classes! Our statistician analyzed results and found no significant difference in test scores when all students in a class take the test, or only part of the class participates. This should eliminate the concern many of you might have about the lack of fairness when we aggregate data for classes where only the “best” students take the test with classes where everyone participates.

When is the test administered?

The testing period is between December 10, 2007 and January 18, 2008. We suggest scheduling the test as early as possible, so that in case of school closings, student illness, midterm exams, weather conditions, etc., you can still meet the deadline.

Why can’t the test be administered later in the year?

Because the test is also used to determine the recipients of the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst-supported study trips, we must send the names of the prizewinners to the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst in early spring.

How much does it cost?

$5.00 per student, and you keep the tests and CD (with all three levels), plus $5.00 shipping / handling per order. Extra CDs are available for $5.00 each.

Who administers the test?

Your school’s testing or guidance personnel or an administrator. Knowledge of German is not necessary. No teacher of German may administer the test! Tests are shipped to the test administrator, not to the teacher of German.

How long is the test?

1 hour and 5 minutes.

What is tested?

Levels 2, 3, 4 with listening comprehension: brief interchanges and longer dialogues; situational questions testing reading and conversational skills; applied structure or grammar and idioms in context; comprehension of connected passages of approximately 200 words each; comprehension of some authentic materials.

The National Test does not reflect the communication strategies I emphasize in my classroom!

A national pencil and paper test, unfortunately, does not lend itself to assessing all aspects of student performance. You may want to add speaking and writing components of your own to gain a more complete picture of student progress, especially if you are using the AATG National Test as a high-stakes evaluation instrument.

How do I determine which level my students should take?

A general rule is that students should take the test for the level at which they are studying at the time of test administration.

But students are tested only half-way through the year! The test design takes that into account. The level 2 test is designed for students at 11⁄2 years; the level 3 test for students at 21⁄2 years; the level 4 test for students at 31⁄2 years.

What level test should I order for my students who are in level five (or higher)?

Order the level four tests for these students, who will be graded in a separate category with other students in the fifth or sixth year of German study.

Our school is on a block schedule, and some students didn’t have German last semester. Whatever level they completed when they last studied German is the level of the test they should take.

My student has special needs (ADA). How is this handled?

Students who receive accommodations under the ADA guidelines on standardized tests may receive the same accommodations on the AATG National German Test.

May these students take the test: Those from German-speaking homes; those who have spent more than two consecutive weeks since the age of six in a country where German is spoken; foreign students? Yes, but they are in a special category and are ineligible for the study trip.

This test is approved by the NASSP. What does this mean?

Once again, the National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed the AATG National German Test on the Advisory List of National Contests and Activities for 2007-2008. Therefore, school principals usually support the administration of the test during the school day by a guidance counselor or administrator. In order to gain NASSP approval, AATG sends this announcement to over 10,000 secondary school teachers of German in the USA, regardless of AATG membership.

Who develops the tests?

The AATG Testing Commission writes, reviews, and selects test items, using their professional judgment to make sure that the vocabulary, idioms, topics, and questions are appropriate and interesting for each level. New tests are developed each year. The 2007 commission members are: Eckhard Kuhn-Osius, Chair (Hunter College, 695 Park Ave., New York, NY 10021); Susan Adams (Concord Academy, Concord, MA); Hal Boland (Heritage H.S., Leesburg, VA); Jack Denny (Leyden High School District 212, Franklin Park, IL); Jennifer Redmann (Kalamazoo College, MI); and Johanna Watzinger-Tharp (Univ. of Utah). To find out more about the work of the Commission, or if you are interested in serving on the Commission, please contact the Chair.

How many students applied last year?

Level 2: 11,482
Level 3: 8,440
Level 4: 6,195
Total: 26,117

Why is the local/regional awards program important?

You as a teacher of German work in a political environment in which it is important to make maximum use of all opportunities to advocate for the teaching of German. Therefore, we ask you to recognize outstanding students at a prominent local school awards event, if possible. Many chapters also honor students at awards ceremonies, luncheons, and dinners with prizes, including certificates for placing at the 70th percentile and above, books, special medals, T-shirts, savings bonds and cash. Many of these awards are donated by the German Embassy, Austrian Cultural Forum, Langenscheidt Publishers, among others.

What other prizes are awarded?

In the past, the Federal Republic of Germany, through its Pedagogical Exchange Service (Pädagogischer Austauschdienst – PAD), has provided the AATG/PAD Study Trip Awards. We hope that they will be granted again in 2008.

What are the AATG/PAD study trip awards?

Award I: Prizewinners (not graduating seniors) receive round-trip group transportation from New York to Germany, spend 3-4 weeks living in Germany, attend classes at an academic high school, and participate in various excursions to places of cultural significance.

Award II: Graduating seniors receive round-trip group transportation from New York to Germany, spend 3-4 weeks living there, where they are placed in groups with international students. In addition to a homestay program, they also attend special seminars in other locations within Germany.

Who is eligible for the AATG/PAD study trip award?

The minimum requirements include: 90 percentile (or higher) on the test; minimum of a B average; 16 years old by December 31, 2008; must not live in a household where regular conversation is in German; must not have visited a German-speaking country for more than two consecutive weeks since the age of six; must be a US citizen or US permanent resident (“green card” holder).

My students participate in GAPP. Why can’t they receive a study trip?

GAPP is also supported by German government funds, and the PAD, the donor of the award, has told us that they want students who would not otherwise have the chance to go to Germany.

How does a chapter nominate its study trip candidates?

A committee, headed by the Chapter Testing Chair, selects the nominees for Award I and Award II. Some chapters use additional criteria, such as a writing sample or oral interview. Chapter criteria should be available to all teachers.

Who selects the study trip award winners?

A nationally representative committee chooses the final award winners from among the chapter candidates.