Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR)

(A cross-section example is given as CEFR-SI-A1)

Introduction

The CEFR: transparent, coherent and comprehensive

The result of over twenty years of research, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR) is exactly what its title says it is: a framework of reference. It was designed to provide a transparent, coherent and comprehensive basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses and curriculum guidelines, the design of teaching and learning materials, and the assessment of foreign language proficiency. It is used in Europe but also in other continents and is now available in 38 languages.

Six levels of foreign language proficiency

The CEFR describes foreign language proficiency at six levels: A1 and A2, B1 and B2, C1 and C2. It also defines three ‘plus’ levels (A2+, B1+, B2+). Based on empirical research and widespread consultation, this scheme makes it possible to compare tests and examinations across languages and national boundaries (see the section “The CEFR and language examinations: a toolkit”). It also provides a basis for recognising language qualifications and thus facilitating educational and occupational mobility.

The CEFR’s illustrative scales of “can do” descriptors are available in a bank of descriptors together with many other related descriptors.

The CEFR is much more than proficiency scales

The CEFR’s scales of foreign language proficiency are accompanied by a detailed analysis of communicative contexts, themes, tasks and purposes as well as scaled descriptions of the competences on which we draw when we communicate. This helps to explain why the CEFR is increasingly used in teacher education, the reform of foreign language curricula and the development of teaching materials (in this connection see the results of a survey carried out in 2006 among Council of Europe member states).

Using the CEFR in specific contexts

The CEFR does not offer ready-made solutions but must always be adapted to the requirements of particular contexts, for example, the teaching and learning of Romani and of French Sign Language. The need for careful interpretation and adaptation is especially acute when the CEFR’s descriptive apparatus and proficiency levels are used to explore the communicative needs of adult migrants and to guide the assessment of their proficiency in the language of their host community (see the relevant studies).

General information

(see Example source guidance)

information to be gathered details
Name / title of source/model and version if applicable  
Stakeholder Council of Europe and Cedefop
URL of source or stakeholder http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Cadre1_en.asp
Orientation (work, education, etc.) Mainly Education and EU worker mobility
Explicit model or implicit model? Explicit model with 5 competencies for each language using 6 levels
Can organisations have competence?  
Number of people currently affected  
Sectors covered Mainly Education
Groups of actual users  
Significant use cases Used by Europass CV and LP and HR-XML Europass CV Application Profile
Significant business cases Europass and other Language Portfolios
Sample materials  
Key features influencing their uptake of InLOC outputs  

Features

(see the Features page or the separate pages for each feature)

N Features ? notes
00 More than one model 0 Only one model
01 Identifiers 0 Not covered by the framework
02 Hierarchy (internal) 1 Basic hierarchy, 5 language competencies for each user language
03 Internal relationships 0  
04 External relationships 0  
05 Conditionality / optionality 0  
06 Text syntax 0  
07 Structured identifiers 0  
08 Classification 0  
09 Level attribution 1 using the 6 levels 
10 Level definition 1 Each level is well defined in 38 languages
11 Context 1 (see below)
12 Evidence and assessment 1 self assessment or certification based on the 6 levels
13 Extensions 0 Not supported
14 Profiles 0  
15 Adaptation 0
16 Definition by example 1
Each level for each competency is based on an example definition
17 Learning resources 0  
18 Learner records 0  
19 Multilinguality 1 Each level is well defined in 38 languages

Context

The CEFR does not offer ready-made solutions but must always be adapted to the requirements of particular contexts, for example, the teaching and learning of Romani and of French Sign Language. The need for careful interpretation and adaptation is especially acute when the CEFR’s descriptive apparatus and proficiency levels are used to explore the communicative needs of adult migrants and to guide the assessment of their proficiency in the language of their host community (see the relevant studies).

Further information

Other related stakeholders is based on Europass LP and CV:

Guidelines requirements