November 7, 2016 by Iván

SIELE: A New Official Spanish Foreign Language Diploma

On 21st November, Cervantes Institute of Beijing will launch a new Spanish language certification focused on “Universal Spanish”, called SIELE (Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española; in English: International Assessment Service for the Spanish Language).

This new test is taking the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) structure and score system as a reference.

The main question here is: why another certification has been created if DELE (Official Spanish as a Foreign Language Diploma) already exists?

Despite the fact that there is not much information to be found about the reasons behind the decision of launching a new official Spanish as a foreign language diploma, we can state THREE very important needs that are being covered by the new certificate, SIELE, that the actual DELE isn´t:

1. Being able to determine at almost anywhere in the world the Spanish language knowledge degree of the candidate. DELE is only offered in those places where Cervantes institute has a branch or has an affiliate examination centre (like here in Hong Kong). SIELE will be offered in a much wider range of places, as it´s going to be an electronic test. Therefore, it can be taken almost anywhere and results will be known within 3 weeks, while DELE is notified as maximum between 2 and 3 months (depending on the level) because tests are all physical and reading / listening comprehension and written expression papers are sent back to Spain for evaluation.

2. SIELE admits and certifies the differences of the Spanish language according to the wide range of its different geographic origins, either on test, as well as its evaluations. However, SIELE expires after two years only, while DELE does not have an expiry date. On the other hand, and although SIELE examination covers all language competences (Reading and listening comprehensions, written expression and oral interaction), the candidate doesn’t necessarily need to take all of them, but is able to choose in which specific area he / she wants to be assessed in.

3. Unlike DELE, SIELE is not only managed by Cervantes Institute (based in Spain), but it´s a collaborative work between the National Autonomous University of Mexico (the biggest Spanish speaking one in the world), the University of Salamanca (the oldest) and the University of Buenos Aires. However, it´s expected that more than 600 universities and Education Ministries in Latin America join this certification in the coming future.

The project is being launched first in those countries that count with the highest number of Spanish language learners:  Brazil, where there will be 120 examination centres, United States that will count with 100, and China with 60.

It is expected a minimum of 300,000 of applications per year that will raise to 750,000 in 5 years time.

Below, we summarise the main differences between the existing DELE and the forthcoming SIELE Spanish language certifications:

Description Diploma of Spanish language proficiency according to the CEFR (A1-C2) Certificate of proficiency in Spanish on a point-scale equivalent to the A1-C1 CEFR levels
Entity The Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.  The Cervantes Institute has managed the academic, financial and administrative aspects since 2002 Cervantes Institute, National Autonomous University of Mexico, University of Salamanca and University of Buenos Aires
Origin Spain Spain, Mexico and Argentina
Validity Indefinitely Two years
International recognition Internationally recognised in nationally regulated education systems (for example in Brazil, France and Italy), in schools, businesses, universities, etc. In Spain: Spanish citizenship, MIR, FIR, etc… Internationally recognised in the SICELE higher education institutions
Administrative and marketing management Instituto Cervantes Telefónica Educación Digital: a technology and marketing company selected through a competitive bidding process
Candidates Speakers of Spanish as a FL, L2 (school-level, youth, and adult) Speakers of Spanish as a FL, L2 and Native (youth and adult)
Testing administration On paper, in testing centres, and in other international open testing calls Electronically in testing centres by appointment. Eventually some tests will be user adaptable (reading and listening)
Network of testing centers Over 900 testing centres in over 100 countries and five continents In progress

With this post, we hope being able to clarify your doubts about which examination to choose in case you are interested in sitting an official Spanish language diploma test.

Are you aiming to sit either the DELE or the SIELE exam ?

Contact us for more information. We, at EIL, will guide you through the whole process to effectively achieve your official Spanish as a foreign language certification.

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