For some time, foreign language proficiency theoreticians and practitioners as well as execu- tives in international business havc identified critical thinking as an essential skill. Despite this demand, the leading world-wide examinations for assessing oral and written communicative competence in Business German, the Priifung Wirtschaftsdmtsch Intmnational [International Business German Examination] (PWD) and the Zertijikat I)mtschfur den Bmuf [German Cer- tificate for Professional Purposes] (ZDfB), test only students' information retrieval skills and fail to assess their critical thinking abilities. This article proposes to integrate critical thinking and problem solving into the exams and to contextualize the tests' tasks in a more authentic business setting without compromising the PWD's and ZDfB's content. These proposals should then be researched using qualitative as well as statistical methods in order to develop a stronger test. For each component of these exams, this article offers ways to include an as- sessment of the students' ability to reflect on, analyze, and critically evaluate business infor- mation. Parallels are drawn to the A C F L ProJicienq Guidelines. Given the enormous influence of the PWD and the ZDfB on Business German curricula worldwide, these improvements will contribute to a more realistic preparation of Business German learners for their successful participation in the global marketplace.
Modern Language Journal, 1998, Vol 82, Issue 1, p. 19-32