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including hands-on report and interview with Wilhelmine Berg, head of project “Work-related German language” in the IQ Network Lower Saxony

Transparent and comparable outcomes

Development and testing of the B2 examination format for the nursing professions to demonstrate German language skills alongside the procedure for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications

Starting position/challenge

In Lower Saxony, taking a practical examination was possible as a means of providing evidence of language skills at level B2 necessary for recognition in the area of nursing. While some guidelines did exist for this examination, there were no content specifications or standardised assessment criteria. The aim was for the development and testing of three scenario-based learning progress measurements for determining language level to result in transparent and comparable outcomes. In order to achieve the broadest possible acceptance and dissemination of the measurements, relevant stakeholders, including the Ministry of Social Policy and nursing colleges, were to be involved in the development process at an early stage. Determining a learning group for testing the scenarios and preparing for and supporting this process also posed some challenges.

Implementation of the development and testing of the nursing occupations examination format

The scenario method involves the simulation of typical communication situations in the workplace. As part of this, the relevant speech activities involved–such as looking after patients, describing nursing activities, providing information for colleagues, writing reports–build upon one another in a realistic process. This produces a sequenced series of steps initiated by a trigger for the activity in the form of a specific reason, a problem case or a frequently occurring issue which then leads towards a potential solution or a reasonable outcome. It is important that the individual steps in the speech activity are not dealt with in isolation but are incorporated within the context of the situation. Reference is therefore also made to a connected chain of speech activities modelled in a meaningful and easy-tofollow way on a realistic workplace situation. All stages of development towards the three developed scenarios took place in the context of an interdisciplinary discussion between language and nursing teachers. Following discussions with staff at the Ministry of Social Policy, it was possible to begin determining language requirements. On the basis of this, what learners needed to be able to demonstrate at levels B1 and B2 was formulated, thus creating the basis for the three scenarios. Specialist support was provided to prepare both the learning group as well as the teachers for the examination format. Following the testing, the result was documented in the brochure “Scenario-based learning progress measurements”.


The scenario-based learning progress measurement is heavily guided by language and communication requirements in the field of nursing. It is a viable format in this professional context and also meets the requirements of learning attainment measurements. The approach was accepted among experts and found its way into the paper “Guidance on the examination of German language skills necessary for professional practice in specialist health occupations” from the Conference of Health Ministers.

Addressees for transfer:

Ministries, professional associations for specialist health occupations, competent authorities for the recognition of professional qualifications, nursing colleges, training institutions.

Strategic approach: development and testing of the B2 examination format for nursing occupations

In coordination with the IQ Competence Centre for Work-Related German Language, the work-related German language subproject in the regional IQ Network Lower Saxony has developed and tested three learning progress measurementsfor the nursing field, and documented these in a brochure. According to the requirements of the Lower Saxony Ministry of Social Policy, language level B2 is necessary for professional recognition. The development of the scenarios was therefore organised with the involvement of two nursing colleges. The scenario-based learning progress measurement is heavily guided by language and communication requirements in the field of nursing and meets the criteria required for learning progress measurements.


Berufsbezogenes Deutsch Provider: Volkshochschule Braunschweig GmbH, IQ Fachstelle Berufsbezogenes Deutsch

Project contact:

Wilhelmine Berg, Alte Waage 15, 38100 Braunschweig, Tel.: 0531/2412455, wilhelmine.berg(at)