If you wish to recruit employees with proficiency in Irish or to promote employees who will have duties relating to the language, it is important that you have access to accurate and reliable verification of their Irish language skills. The TEG exam system offers a comprehensive insight into the strengths and weaknesses of candidates in relation to their Irish language proficiency. TEG staff will be happy to conduct exams in workplaces outside of the official examination dates provided that there are a sufficient number of candidates undertaking the exam. Contact us if you wish to discuss your needs further.
Why are TEG exams important for employers?
Different kinds of jobs require different language skills. For example, speaking skills would be very important for someone working as a receptionist, while he/ she may not require advanced writing skills. If you wish to employ someone who will be able to answer written correspondence, a high level of skill in written Irish will be necessary. TEG exams provide qualifications that verify language skills at five different levels, from foundation level to advanced proficiency level. When candidates take a TEG exam, they get an overall mark as well as a breakdown of the marks attained in each of the skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking). This information helps employers to choose candidates with the appropriate skills for a job or promotion.
The following is a detailed description of the skills expected of learners who have achieved each of the various levels of the TEG qualifications system.
Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1)
This is a short description of what learners at Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) can be expected to do in the various skills.
Speaking and listening
At this level, learners will be able to use single words and very simple sentences when participating in conversations on topics and general matters closely related to their own lives (see the syllabus). For example, they will be able to give very basic descriptions of themselves, where they live, the work they are engaged in and the things they do on a daily basis. They should understand simple speech, delivered slowly and clearly, as long as it relates to ordinary everyday matters. They will be dependent on others to help them in their attempts at communication.
Learners will understand very simple, brief texts provided they are closely related to everyday life. They will unravel the meaning of a text, phrase by phrase, locating names, words and recognisable basic phrases. They will need to reread the text where necessary.
At this level, learners will be able to write single words on very basic forms and other such documents. They will be able to write phrases such as ‘Is maith liom ceol (I like music)’, for example. Candidates are only required to write single words in the Bonnleibhéal 1 (A1) examination.
Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2)
This is a short description of what learners at Bonnleibhéal 2 (A2) can be expected to do in the various skills.
Speaking and Listening
At this level, learners will be able to describe, in simple terms, their background, their work, their daily activities, their likes and dislikes (see the syllabus). They will use simple phrases and sentences. They will be able to participate in simple conversations on ordinary matters. They will understand simple sentences and common phrases, pertaining to ordinary life, provided that the language is clear, that the speech isn’t overly dialectal and that it is delivered at a reasonable pace. They will continue to rely greatly on others to help them in their efforts to communicate.
Learners will be able to understand the gist of a written account (e-mail or letter, for example) as long as it is in simple language and the subject matter pertains to an area in which the learner has some knowledge or interest. Learners will not be able to handle abstract subject matter or material which doesn’t contain commonly used vocabulary. They will have to use their limited resources in terms of vocabulary and structure to ascertain to the meaning of a text and to understand details of simple texts.
The learner will be able to write simple sentences, in an e-mail message for example, on subjects directly relating to his/her own life, such as 'Tá mé ag dul go dtí an phictiúrlann.’/‘I am going to the cinema tonight.’ At this level, learners will be able to write the following: simple sentences and phrases constructed with simple conjunctions such as ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘because’.
Meánleibhéal 1 (B1)
This is a short description of what learners at Meánleibhéal 1 (B1) can be expected to do in the various skills.
Speaking and Listening
At this level, learners will be able to participate, without prior preparation, in conversations on general topics that relate to their own lives (see the syllabus). They should follow the gist of television programmes or telephone messages. They should be able to participate in simple exchanges of opinion on subject matters with which they are familiar. However, they will be unable to express a complicated point of view. ‘Predictability’ is the most important factor at this level.
At this level, learners will be able to understand the general meaning of a written account on a subject matter with which they are familiar, for example, simple, non-specialist articles in newspapers and magazines, brochures and pamphlets on cultural events, hobbies and so forth. They will understand descriptions of events, emotions and so on, as expressed in simple letters, e-mail messages and other similar correspondence.
At this level, learners will be able to write simple, short notes, for example e-mail messages and simple, personal letters providing factual information about events or descriptions of activities. In the context of their own work, they will be able to write a simple letter providing facts, dates and so forth. Written output should be subject to a proof-reading process as errors may be present in work which falls outside the usual range of tasks encountered by the learner.
Meánleibhéal 2 (B2)
This is a short description of what learners at Meánleibhéal 2 (B2) can be expected to do in the various skills.
Speaking and Listening
Learners should be able to participate actively in ordinary conversations at a normal pace in a wide variety of subjects, including those laid down in the syllabus, as well as subjects of particular interest to them. They will have the skills to engage in and develop discourse and coherent argument on a given subject. Learners can exchange, check and confirm information. They can comment on the personal importance of particular occurrences and experiences, convey their outlook and defend their point of view with relevant examples and arguments. They will also have appropriate skills to deal with the unexpected as it arises.
Learners at Meánleibhéal 2 (B2) should be able to cope with many different types of written texts which deal directly or indirectly with syllabus topics and subjects of interest to them. They should understand the main points in ordinary texts, as well as the conclusions and implications of those texts, even when inferred indirectly. Learners should have little difficulty in understanding correspondence dealing with matters closely related to their own areas of interest. They should be able to make appropriate use of dictionaries and resources (online and other) to help them with specialised terms or language outside of their areas of interest.
Meánleibhéal 2 (B2) learners should be able to undertake a wide range of written tasks, once the subject matter pertains to predictable topics. Learners will know how to write a formal or informal letter; how to start and finish written correspondence in keeping with conventions regarding address, dates, punctuation and so forth. The learners will have a good grasp of grammar and will not make the kind of grammar mistakes that could lead to serious misunderstandings. They will use a wide range of vocabulary covering general topics and specific subject matter in which they have a particular interest. They will be reasonably accurate with regard to spelling and punctuation but it is probable that the influence of their mother-tongue may be detected in their writing.
Ardleibhéal 1 (C1)
This is a short description of what learners at Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) can be expected to do in the various skills. Teachers and learners are advised to familiarise themselves with the syllabus.
Learners should be able to actively participate in ordinary conversation or in more formal speech (lectures, debates and interviews, for example). They will be able to discuss abstract subjects with other people, including native speakers, as long as the discussion is not overly dialectal, specialised, technical or fast-paced. They will be able to express and defend opinions and ideas and to respond to points made by others. They will be able to speak fluently, spontaneously and accurately about a wide range of topics, in a way that does not tax listeners in any way. There may be some mistakes present in the learner’s speech, especially when the speaker is under pressure or speaking quickly or spiritedly/ passionately, but these mistakes are caused by pressure or carelessness, rather than consistent errors reflecting a lack of knowledge of basic vocabulary or grammar. Learners can deliver extended speech in both formal and informal contexts.
Learners at Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) can understand, without much difficulty, extended speech including announcements, messages, recorded directions, lectures, debates, the majority of radio/ television programmes and other material common in social, academic or professional life. They can understand conversations and discussions between third parties, as long as they are not overly dialectal/ colloquial, specialised, technical or fast-paced. They can understand extended speech even if it is not clearly structured or if certain points are subtly or indirectly implied. They can understand a wide range of phrases and idioms and they can recognise differences in language register. It is not expected that learners will understand every word in technical speech or in speech that relates to subjects outside the range of expertise of the learner (for example, jargon or terminology relating to the law, information technology or theology) but they will understand the general meaning, nevertheless.
Learners at Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) will be able to deal with the ordinary Modern Irish texts which are typically read in social, professional or academic life (for example, correspondence, directions, articles, reports, books and so forth), as long as they are not overly colloquial, specialised or technical. Such texts may be long, complex or abstract. As well as a wide vocabulary, the learner will possess the following skills: the ability to make effective use of the appropriate reference materials (dictionaries and grammar books), the ability to scan long and complex documents and to extract relevant points of information from them; the ability to adapt their reading speed and style according to specific texts and objectives.
Learners at Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) will be able to produce a wide range of written texts of various types. The topic need not be predictable or related to their own work or areas of expertise. Learners at this level will be flexible and creative enough to write effectively about topics outside of their own experience, as long as they are not overly specialised or technical. These texts may include: handbooks or instructive pamphlets, flyers, magazine or newspaper articles, reports or job descriptions, memoranda, teaching materials, university theses, creative writing or the minutes of meetings. They will make fluent use of a wide range of expressions, idioms, linking devices and common terminology. Their writing style will have clarity, a natural feel and a wealth of expression. The influence of their mother tongue may be evident at times, but it should not be so obvious as to seriously impede the comprehensibilty of the text. The text will be accurate, for the most part, in terms of grammar and spelling.