External Language Certification

“The study of additional languages in the PYP/MYP/DP provides students with the opportunity to develop insights into the features, processes and craft of language and the concept of culture, and to realize that there are diverse ways of living, behaving and viewing the world”. (IST Language Policy, January 2021)

External Language Certification

As per our Language Policy, IST supports our students in a variety of ways  to become successful multilingual global citizens, insofar as “Multilingualism opens up new ways to consider the complexity of domains of language in a learning profile and how they may interact to promote socio cultural competencies, intercultural awareness and international-mindedness”. (Language and Learning in IB Programs, August 2012).

Content-wise, within the IB framework, foreign language classes at IST follow the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) in:

  • English (Cambridge standards)
  • French (DELF standards - Diplôme d’études en langue française) 
  • German (Goethe standards)
  • Italian (PLIDA standards - Progetto Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri)
  • Spanish (DELE standards - Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera)


These internationally recognized standards for Language Acquisition courses provide our students with the opportunity to prepare for the corresponding internationally recognized Foreign Language Certificates, based on their achievement level (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) in Reading, Speaking, Listening, Writing.


More in general, these internationally recognized external language certifications can:

- Represent a positive addition to CVs, Resumés and University Applications;

- Enrich a student’s profile in any future career path;

- Give access to universities in countries where the target language is spoken (with a B1 or B2 level, depending on the country);

- Fulfill (partially or totally) the foreign language requirements in certain university programmes (sometimes based on the actual grade obtained);

- Provide an opportunity for students to practice important exam-taking skills: organizational skills, self-management skills, the ability to work under timed conditions and cope with the stress of having to sit for multiple exams in a short period of time


Please note: researches world-wide confirm that language acquisition can vary greatly in terms of achievement levels and the time needed to reach them. Generally speaking, a student starting the study of a foreign language at IST in Grade 4 can be expected to sit for external language certifications according to this timeline:

A1 Foreign Language Certificate in Grade 6

A2 Foreign Language Certificate in Grade 8 or 9 (depending on language background and achievement level)

B1 Foreign Language Certificate in Grade 9 or 10 (depending on language background and achievement level)

B2 Foreign Language Certificate in Grade 11 or 12 (depending on language background and achievement level)

Preparation for language certifications is embedded in the curriculum for all languages taught at IST and external language certification exams are included in the tuition fee.


These external exams are entirely optional, but the school will bear the costs once for each student for each level. The official IST calendar for external Language Certification Exams is the following:

  • November session: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • March/April session: English in Secondary
  • May/June session: English in Primary + Non-returning students (all languages)


More information regarding exact dates, times, venues and registration deadlines is shared closer to each session in the school year.


Learn more about our External Language Certification