CEFR - A Standard For Describing Language Level
- What is CEFR?
- How is CEFR organised?
- What are the benefits of CEFR for teachers?
- What are the benefits of CEFR for students?
- How do different exams correspond to CEFR levels?
- How do CEFR levels compare to native speaker levels?
What is CEFR?
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an international standard for describing language ability. It is used around the world to describe learners' language proficiency. The CEFR divides language proficiency into six levels, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered a language.
How is CEFR organised?
CEFR organises language proficiency into three broad divisions (A, B, C) which are further divided into six levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). Each level describes what a learner is supposed to be able to do in reading, listening, speaking and writing. These descriptions apply to any language and provide a clear and detailed framework for learning.
What are the benefits of CEFR for teachers?
For teachers, the CEFR provides a clear framework for curriculum design, lesson planning, and assessment. It ensures consistency and clarity in teaching objectives. Teachers can assess learners progress against internationally recognised benchmarks, making it easier to set goals and expectations.
What are the benefits of CEFR for students?
For students, the CEFR is a tool for measuring and recognising progress in language learning. It helps in setting learning goals and understanding their own proficiency levels. The CEFR levels are often required for educational and professional opportunities, making it a valuable asset for career and study prospects.
How do different exams correspond to CEFR levels?
Many language exams are aligned with the CEFR levels. For example, the B2 First Certificate in English (FCE), as the name suggests, corresponds to B2, while the IELTS exam scores range all across the CEFR levels. These correspondences help students choose the right exam for their proficiency level.
How do CEFR levels compare to native speaker levels?
CEFR levels go up to C2, which is considered near-native proficiency. A C2 level individual can understand and communicate complex ideas and nuances in a language almost as effectively as a native speaker. However, native fluency often includes cultural and idiomatic knowledge that goes beyond just language proficiency.
Here is an approximation of the age range for each CEFR level:
- A1 (beginner): Similar to a 6-year-old native speaker
- A2 (elementary): Similar to an 8-year-old native speaker
- B1 (intermediate): Similar to a 12-year-old native speaker
- B2 (upper-intermediate): Similar to a 16-year-old native speaker
- C1 (advanced): Similar to a young adult native speaker (18-25 years old)
- C2 (proficient): Similar to an educated native speaker (25+ years old)