The Common European
Framework of Reference: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEF) is a system
which could be used to compare language levels for teaching and testing languages in
Europe. It was developed by the Council of Europe in order to try and set clear, attainable standards at different levels of language
learning for European languages. The system is by no means perfect, but
the descriptions below give some indication of the relationship between
the CEF levels and standard levels used in teaching English.
A1 - Beginners level - basic
knowledge of the language, familiar everyday expressions and simple
A2 - Pre-Intermediate level -
familiar with frequently used expressions and conversation on
B1 - Intermediate level - 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 - Independent User (upper
intermediate) - 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 - Advanced level - 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 - Proficient User - 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