ALTE's Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are an important part of the life of the association as they pursue important issues connected with language testing. ALTE has two types of SIGs, Project Groups and Discussion Groups. These meet face-to-face as part of biannual meetings, but also online as needed. They can be chaired by any individual from a Member organisation or an Individual Expert Member. Co-chairs can come from Institutional Affiliate organisations.

Project Groups

Project Groups have coordinators with a clear idea of what they want to achieve. Project Groups have a set purpose, which might be to create and publish a specific piece of documentation or set of materials, create a video, webpage, webinar or academic paper, or any other project that has a specific goal; an appropriate time limit, e.g.. to run for 2-3 years in order to complete a particular piece of work with no necessity to extend beyond this; and an appropriate cost limit, e.g. to accomplish the purpose using an appropriate amount of funds approved by ALTE’s Board of Trustees. This results in a very concrete, focused group, with a clear aim and under no obligation to continue indefinitely.

Before a project group starts, there should be a core number of individuals signed up to be committed. Project Groups should specify to what extent they would like conference participants attending their meetings: ideally, anybody at meetings should be welcomed but we recognise that there are certain groups that may need to be ‘closed’ because e.g. a high turnover of participants is not helpful to achieve their aims. Project Groups should have a coordinator/chair and ideally also a co-chair. They are responsible for creating a project plan as well as coordinating the work of the group. 

Discussion Groups

Discussion Groups, or Input Groups, are one-off meetings, where an individual (or two) within the association puts forward a topic for discussion. It is a forum for all members and affiliates to learn, be trained, share and collaborate.

A discussion group is likely to take place on one occasion only, probably at the same time as a SIG (i.e. the Thursday of a biannual conference/meeting), or alternatively online or at another specified time and location. The individual acts as the group coordinator and manages the input and discussion. Specific output may result in a follow-up discussion group or even project group, but does not have to. These sessions are an opportunity to engage in practical issues affecting members and share research and good practice in one area.

Current SIGs as of February 2020 are as follows. New Project Groups and Discussion Groups will be set up from summer 2020 onwards.


The QMS working group has been commissioned by ALTE Members to review and edit all audit documentation. The Quality Management Systems group works in close collaboration with the Standing Committee, and its agenda is usually set by this committee.


De werkgroep Evaluatie van taalvaardigheid voor migratie en integratie (LAMI) werkt momenteel aan een toolkit. Dit is een initiatief van de Raad van Europa die vrijwilligers die lesgeven aan migranten wil ondersteunen met descriptoren voor geletterdheid die bij migranten gebruikt kunnen worden. 


The CEFR SIG has developed two different grids for the analysis of sample performances and tasks, and is currently researching the use of the CEFR in the employment sector.


The Special Requirements and Circumstances SIG is gathering information on how and to what extent accomodations for candidates with special requirements can be granted in order to ensure fairness and barrier-free access to tests.


De werkgroep Taal voor Specifieke Doelen (LSP) werkt momenteel aan een LSP-supplement bij de de Handleiding voor de ontwikkeling van taaltoetsen. Een nieuw project staat op stapel om het supplement te stofferen met een voorbeeld van een ontwikkelingsproces van een bestaande LSP-toets.


De werkgroep komt ad hoc samen tijdens ALTE-evenementen, wanneer er over bepaalde onderwerpen moet gesproken worden of er presentaties beschikbaar zijn. Elk lid of instellingslid met interesse in het domein is welkom.

Teacher Training

The group meets once a year at the ALTE winter conferences. Any member or affiliate with an interest in the area is welcome to attend. The last two meetings have been held jointly with the LAMI SIG, looking at teachers' needs in the context of migration and integration. 

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