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The Language Proficiency Diploma (DCL)

The Language Proficiency Diploma (DCL) is a national professional diploma created especially for adults. It meets the needs of the economic world. Its originality is to assess language skills in a situation close to the realities of the labor market. Depending on their performance, candidates obtain the diploma with the mention of one of the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​(CEFR).

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The DCL, a certification for professional life

The DCL certifies the skills acquired in the common and professional language of common communication to all sectors of economic activity.

The test takes the form of a case study in which, as in professional life, a variety of tasks are linked together.

The DCL is a national professional diploma which is part of the Eduform quality approach and concerns four specialities and thirteen languages :

Professional foreign languages 
  • German
  • English
  • Arab
  • Chinese
  • Spanish
  • FLE
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
Professional French
French sign language
Regional languages 
  • Breton
  • Occitan

Who is concerned by the DCL?

The DCL was created especially for adults and meets the needs of the professional world.

It allows companies to ensure the language proficiency of their employees beyond the formula “read, written, spoken”.

For employees, job seekers, vocational training trainees, students and individuals, is approach can be part of a perspective of :

  • Personal development  
  • Professional integration 
  • Retraining 
  • Evolution and mobility

The DCL is eligible for the training plan, the personal training account (CPF), the individual training leave (CIF), the professional security contract (CSP) and the professionalization period.

The areas of competence assessed

The DCL validates five areas of competence in the language of everyday and professional communication:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Oral comprehension or French sign language (LSF)
  • Oral expression or expression in LSF
  • Written expression
  • Oral or LSF interaction

At the end of the test, the jury will award the participants, depending on the performance, one of the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: from A1-A2 for Professional French at first level and from A2- C1 for all other languages.

The Language Proficiency Diploma (DCL) is a professional diploma from the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research. It allows adults to attest to their ability to use a foreign language in all personal, social or professional situations.

In which languages ​​can you take the DCL?

German, English, Arabic, Breton, Chinese, Spanish, French, first level French, Italian, French Sign Language (LSF), Occitan, Portuguese and Russian.

Who can be candidate ?

Anyone, whatever their nationality, level of education and professional situation.

What levels can we get?

The levels of the DCL are established in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) of the Council of Europe. The DCL Professional French first level delivers levels A1 to A2. The other DCLs allow you to obtain levels A2 to C1. The candidate does not register for a level a priori, it is his or her performance on the day of the exam that determines the level that will be awarded.

Does the DCL give the right to funding?

Since February 6, 2015, the DCL is registered in the inventory of the National Commission of Professional Certifications (CNCP). Financing is therefore possible within the framework of company training plans or individual training leave (CIF). Since 7 July 2015, it has been registered on the national interprofessional list, which means that it is possible to use the Personal Training Account (CPF) to finance training in any of the 13 languages of the DCL.

Does it validate the level to obtain French nationality?

The circular of 30 November 2011 from the Ministry of the Interior (Annex 2, page 2) specifies that the DCL French as a foreign language level B1 validates the level required to obtain French nationality.

How much does registration cost?

100 euros (registration fees set by the decree of February 25, 2011).

Where and when does the exam take place?

In approved examination centers, throughout France. See the list and dates of the sessions on the site www.education.gouv.fr/dcl under “where and when?”. The DCL being a national exam, the sessions take place on fixed dates, the same days in all the exam centers.

How to register?

On the website www.education.gouv.fr/dcl , approximately two months before the date of the session. After the closing date for registration, candidates will receive a request for confirmation of their registration, which they must return together with payment of the registration fee. Please note that no registrations can be taken into account outside the registration periods, which are given on the website.

What is the exam?

Whatever the level targeted, all the candidates for a session pass the same test. The subject simulates a real professional situation. More than theoretical linguistic knowledge (grammar, vocabulary, etc.), it is the candidate’s ability to use the language to carry out a global task that is assessed.

What do the tests consist of? 

The event is divided into 5 phases:

  • Phase 1: awareness of the situation and written comprehension
  • Phase 2: oral comprehension (or in LSF for DCL LSF)
  • Phases 3 and 4: oral expression and interaction (or in LSF for DCL LSF)
  • Phase 5 : writing (and in LSF for DCL LSF)

How long do the tests last?

The first level French DCL lasts 1 hour 30 minutes. The other DCLs last 2 hours 30 minutes. Applicants are invited every 20 to 30 minutes.

How to prepare for the exam?

No preparation is compulsory, but it is recommended to consult the records of the DCL to familiarize yourself with the format of the test. Training is offered in training organizations accredited for the preparation of the DCL ( available on the website www.education.gouv.fr/dcl).

When and how to get results?

A maximum of one month after the exam, candidates can consult their results (level obtained and detailed profile) directly on the website, in the “registration calendar and results” section (provide their registration number).

When do applicants receive their diploma?

The DCL national diploma is issued and signed by the rector of the academy where the exam took place. It must be collected from the service concerned or sent by post in RAR.

How long is the diploma valid for?

Unlimited validity.

What is the recognition of the DCL?

Like all exams of the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, the DCL is recognized in all countries of the European Union.

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