The Certificado de Proficiência em Língua Portuguesa para Estrangeiros (Celpe-Bras) is the official Brazilian exam to certify proficiency in Portuguese as a foreign language. The exam is applied every six months in Brazil and abroad by Inep, with support from the Ministry of Education (MEC) and in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The tests are carried out at applicators: institutions of higher education, diplomatic representations, consular missions, cultural centers and institutes, and other institutions interested in the promotion and dissemination of the Portuguese language.
Celpe-Bras is based on the idea of proficiency as an appropriate use of language to perform actions in the world. The exam considers textual aspects and, mainly, discursive aspects: context, purpose and interlocutors involved in the interaction. To certify different levels of proficiency, Celpe-Bras is based on the premise that participants at all certified levels are capable of performing actions in the Portuguese language. What can vary is the quality of performance, depending on the level of proficiency.
Being of a communicative nature, the exam emphasizes the use of language and has integrated assessments that involve oral and written comprehension and production. Therefore, Celpe-Bras assesses the speaker’s competence and performance in the use of language, with a more flexible grammatical and prescriptive examination. The elaboration and application of Celpe-Bras has the collaboration of a technical-scientific commission, of an advisory nature, composed of professors specialized in evaluation and teaching of Portuguese to speakers of other languages, selected through public call.
The exam has a written part, which assesses oral and written comprehension and the production written in Portuguese; and an oral part (face-to-face interaction), which evaluates the performance in the comprehension and oral production of the language. Proficiency is assessed based on the participant’s performance in both parts. This includes practices of use of the Portuguese language that may occur in the daily life of a foreigner who intends to interact in Portuguese, in Brazil.