Login

Online Support

Newsletter

 

Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)

 

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) plays a central role in language and education policy, not only within Europe, but worldwide. It has growing relevance for language testers and examination boards, helping to define language proficiency levels and interpret language qualifications.

 

Describing levels of language ability

The CEFR describes language ability on a scale of levels from A1 for beginners up to C2 for those who have mastered a language. This makes it easy for anyone involved in language teaching and testing (learners, teachers, teacher trainers, etc.) to see the level of different qualifications. It also means that employers and educational institutions can easily compare qualifications and see how they relate to exams they already know in their own country.

 

Cambridge ESOL and the CEFR

Cambridge ESOL was involved in the development of this standard. Brian North, one of the authors of the Framework, has said that:

'We're really at the beginning of the process of validating the claims which are made by the examination boards about the relationship of their exams to the Framework. There is a difference between having a very good idea of what the relationship is and confirming it. Cambridge ESOL is an exception, because there is a relationship between the levels in the CEF [Common European Framework] and the levels of the Cambridge ESOL exams.' (Interview with Brian North in ELT News, Feb 06.)

All of our examinations are aligned with the levels described by the CEFR.

 

CEFR CAN DO Table

 

Level

Description

A1

Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

A2

Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

B1

Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

B2

Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

C1

Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

C2

Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.



 

 

FIND YOUR LEVEL HERE

 

Latest News

ParsESOL has successfully started cooperating with different schools in teaching Young Learners (YLE)
Evaluate Your English by Taking Mock Tests
Do you wish to know what your real level of English is based on the CEFR benchmark? Give us a ring to sit for mock tests.
100 more organisations recognised Cambridge English in August
100 new names joined the list of organisations that recognise Cambridge English tests.
Leading Australian universities accept Cambridge English: Advanced
All eight members of the Group of Eight (Go8) coalition of leading Australian universities now accept Cambridge English: Advanced as a minimum English language requirement for overseas student applications.
100 years of Cambridge English exams celebrated at Cambridge Guildhall
The Mayor of Cambridge and Julian Huppert MP were among the guests at a celebration to mark 100 years of Cambridge English exams at the Guildhall in Cambridge last night.