L2 learning aptitude tests?

Dear Colleagues,

I am looking for pointers to good tests of L2 learning aptitude, that can be used to determine how well university-level students in Rwanda will be able to learn German.

Some background: My university in Germany has a program that brings 10 students per year from Rwanda to do a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in German. Once the students arrive here, they must complete a year of German language study and pass a German exam to be able to start their degree program. On average, one student per year does not successfully complete the language study, which is not good for either the student (who has now lost a year of studies and other scholarship opportunities) or for the government (who has now paid a year of scholarship with no outcome). I have been asked to find a test of L2 learning aptitude that we can institute as one of the criteria for selecting students for the program.


  1. The test has been shown to be reliable and valid for university-level students.
  2. The test is suitable for use in Rwanda. Students are all native speakers of Kinyarwanda, but have studied in English since elementary school.
  3. The test is either relatively short (<20 minutes) or is longer but can be administered to a group of students at once.

My research so far has led me to the MLAT (Modern Language Aptitude Test) which seems like it could be very suitable apart from Part 3 that relies on knowledge of relatively infrequent English vocabulary and some knowledge of Western culture. I would be very interested in hearing about people’s experiences with the MLAT with non-native speakers of English, and in pointers to other possible tests.


Shanley Allen
University of Kaiserslautern