CEFR: Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and, increasingly, in other countries. It was put together by the Council of Europe as the main part of the project "Language Learning for European Citizenship" between 1989 and 1996. Its main aim is to provide a method of learning, teaching and assessing which applies to all languages in Europe. In November 2001 a European Union Council Resolution recommended using the CEFR to set up systems of validation of language ability. The six reference levels (see below) are becoming widely accepted as the European standard for grading an individual's language proficiency.
Elementary use of language
A1(end of Beginner 4)
A2(end of Elementary 4)
Can understand and use familiar, everyday expressions and very simple sentences, which relate to the satisfying of concrete needs. Can introduce him/herself and others as well as ask others about themselves – e.g. where they live, who they know and what they own – and can respond to questions of this nature. Can communicate in a simple manner if the person they are speaking to speaks slowly and clearly and is willing to help.
Can understand sentences and commonly used expressions associated with topics directly related to his/her direct circumstances (e.g. personal information or information about his/her family, shopping, work, immediate surroundings). Can make him/herself understood in simple, routine situations dealing with a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and common topics. Can describe his/her background and education, immediate surroundings and other things associated with immediate needs in a simple way.
Independent language use
B1(end of Intermediate levels)
B2(end of Advanced levels)
Can understand the main points when clear, standard language is used and the focus is on familiar topics associated with work, school, leisure time, etc. Can deal with most situations typically encountered when travelling in the language region. Can express him/herself simply and coherently regarding familiar topics and areas of personal interest. Can report on experiences and events, describe dreams, hopes and goals as well as make short statements to justify or explain his/her own views and plans.
Can understand the main contents of complex texts on concrete and abstract topics; also understands specialized discussions in his/her own primary area of specialization. Can communicate so spontaneously and fluently that a normal conversation with native speakers is easily possible without a great deal of effort on either side. Can express him/herself on a wide range of topics in a clear and detailed manner, explain his/her position on a current issue and indicate the benefits and drawbacks of various options.
Autonomous language ability
C1(requires special preparation)
C2(requires special preparation)
Can understand a wide range of challenging, longer texts and also grasp implicit meanings. Can express him/herself spontaneously and fluently without having to search for words frequently and noticeably. Can use the language effectively and flexibly in his/her social and professional life or in training and studies. Can make clear, structured and detailed statements on complex topics and apply various means of text association appropriately in the process.
Can effortlessly understand practically everything which he/she reads or hears. Can summarize information from various written and spoken sources, logically recounting the reasons and explanations. Can express him/herself spontaneously with high fluency and precision and also make finer nuances of meaning clear in more complex topics.