What is a STANAG 6001 Military English Test?
A STANAG, or STANdardisation AGreement, is an international military standard created by NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It is designed to standardise how armed forces from different countries work together on international operations and exercises. It affects procedures, tactics, training, including English Language proficiency.
STANAG 6001 is a language proficiency scale designed to allow comparisons of language ability in different countries. The scale consists of a set of descriptors with proficiency skills broken down into six levels, marked 1 through to 6. They are defined as follows:
• Level 0 Beginner – similar to A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)
• Level 1 Elementary – similar to A2 on the CEFR
• Level 2 Limited Working – similar to B1
• Level 3 Minimum Professional – similar to B2
• Level 4 Full Professional – similar to C1
• Level 5 Native/Bilingual – similar to C2
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When you take a test, your language proficiency is recorded with a profile of 4 digits, which indicate your specific language skills in the following order: Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing
For example, a person with the level SLP 2323 has level 2 in Listening, level 3 in Speaking, level 2 in Reading and level 3 in Writing. This number is preceded by the code letters SLP to show that this is the Standardized Language Profile.
Military English Exams in the UK – MODLEB
There is no one official exam for the STANAG 6001 levels and countries which use the scale produce their own tests and are responsible validating their tests in terms of the STANAG 6001 levels.
In the UK, the relevant tests are administrated by MODLEB, the Ministry of Defence Language Examination Board.
MODLEB exams are the only English tests endorsed and validated by the Ministry of Defence. They have been developed specifically for personnel from the Armed Forces and have been administered by the University of Westminster for over 10 years.
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The tests are compliant with NATO STANAG 6001 requirements and cover levels 1 to 4. The MODLEB test papers are all vetted by the Ministry of Defence before use. Content focuses on authentic military language and situations, so making the tests directly relevant to the test-taker.
Description of STANAG 6001 Levels
Here is a summary of STANAG 6001 levels described by 'can do' statements:
Listening Can understand common familiar phrases and short simple sentences about everyday personal and survival needs.
Speaking Can maintain simple face-to-face communication in typical everyday situations.
Reading Can read very simple connected written material directly related to everyday survival or workplace situations.
Writing Can write lists, short notes, phone messages to meet immediate personal needs. Can complete forms.
Listening Can follow conversations and talks about everyday topics, including personal news, well-known current events and routine job-related topics and topics in his/her professional field.
Speaking Can communicate in everyday social and routine workplace situations.
Reading Can read simple, straightforward, factual texts on familiar topics.
Writing Can write with some precision simple personal correspondence and routine workplace correspondence and related documents, including brief reports.
Listening Can understand conversations, briefings and telephone calls about complex topics, including economics, science, technology and his/her own professional field.
Speaking Can participate effectively in most formal & informal conversations, including meetings. Can deliver briefings.
Reading Read with almost complete comprehension a variety of authentic written material on general and professional subjects, including unfamiliar subject matter.
Writing Can write effective formal and informal correspondence and other documents on practical, social and professional topics and special fields of competence.
Listening Can understand all forms/styles of speech used for professional purposes including on unfamiliar topics. Can recognise nuances of meaning and irony and humour.
Speaking Can use the language with great precision, accuracy, and fluency for all professional purposes.
Reading Can read all styles and forms of the written language used for professional purposes, including texts from unfamiliar general and professional-specialist areas.
Writing Can write the language precisely and accurately and can draft all levels of prose pertinent to professional needs.