An Evidence-based Review of Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF): A French Competency Test for Non-native Speakers of French

Document Type : Original Research Article


Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Macao, Macao SAR, China


Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF), a French knowledge test for any non-native speakers of French, is an official language exam for the certificate of proficiency in French designed by France Éducation international (FIE) and accredited by le Ministère Français de l’Éducation Nationale, de la Jeunesse et des Sports (French Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports). To meet the need triggered by American TOEFL and British IELTS, TCF was created in 2001 by FIE (formerly Centre International d'études Pédagogiques) and has been administrated in more than 120 countries by more than 700 centers around the world and has served for more than 2,000,000 candidates by the year 2022 for personal, academic or professional purposes (France Éducation International, n.d.). The increasing number of French learners worldwide and the growth of popularity French enjoyed give rise to the need of more reviews of test fairness and usefulness on recognized French competence tests such as TCF. However, unlike the large number of assessment practices focusing on English language testing, only a few studies available show awareness about the assessment on world languages other than English. With the hope to enrich the body of research in the field of language testing and to expand the scope of assessment on world languages, this review aims at examining the overall usefulness and fairness of TCF using Kunnan’s (2018) most recent theoretical framework of test fairness and justice. As a result, our review shows that TCF test developers have made great efforts on addressing core issues of validity, reliability, and authenticity, while there might be room for improvement to provide more meaningful and useful information to all stakeholders.