The TestDaF-Institut was founded in January 2001 in Hagen as an affiliated institution to the University of Hagen and the Ruhr-University Bochum. Since 2011 it is located in Bochum. The Institute’s main function is to develop and administer the TestDaF (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache – Test of German as a Foreign Language).
The TestDaF Institute was founded by the Society of Academic Study Preparation and Test Development (Gesellschaft für Akademische Studienvorbereitung und Testentwicklung e.V, g.a.s.t.). Members of the Society are the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Goethe Institut, the University of Hagen, the Ruhr-University Bochum, the University of Leipzig and the Professional Association of German as a Foreign Language (Fachverband Deutsch als Fremdsprache, FaDaF).
The test is being developed and assessed centrally by the TestDaF Institute. All test materials go through an extensive and thorough pre-testing phase and are subjected to a permanent quality control. The TestDaF is currently offered in more than 450 licensed test centres in 97 countries.
All test takers receive a certificate that discloses the candidates’ proficiency in the German language separated in four skills (the subtests reading comprehension, listening comprehension, written production and oral production) at three levels (TestDaF-Niveaustufen, TestDaF levels, TDN 3 – 5).
The TestDaF is approved as a language proficiency test for the access to universities in Germany. The TestDaF level TDN 4 in all four subtests is sufficient for being accepted at a German university. On TDN 3 distinct universities may decide whether the candidate is being accepted due to his / her course of studies and the future degree. On TDN 5 test takers demonstrate high proficiency in German that lies above the requested proficiency level for a university entry.
The TestDaF-Institut researches and advises in all areas of test development, test methodology and applied computer science concerning testing. The TestDaF-Institut is member of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE), of the European Association for Language Testing and Assessment (EALTA) and of the International Test Commission (ITC – affiliate membership). Via the holding association g.a.s.t. e. V. the TestDaF-Institut is member of the Association for Evaluation and Accreditation of Quality in Language Services (EAQUALS – associate membership).
Under the umbrella of g.a.s.t. the TestDaF-Institut offers further aptitude tests and training opportunities for international students:
- "Test for Academic Studies" (TestAS), scholastic aptitude test for international university applicants in cooperation with ITB Consulting GmbH
- "Deutsch-Uni Online" (DUO), online courses for learning German as well as prepatory courses for studies in Germany and the TestDaF
- "Online-Einstufungstest Deutsch als Fremdsprache" (onDaF), internet-based fast and accurate assessment of German language proficiency, for instance for language courses
- "sprachnachweis.de", simple search of all study programmes and degrees in Germany including the language certificates required for each programme