Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)

CEFR-300Standard English courses are becoming more aligned with the Internationally recognized Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) model. This makes it possible to relate courses to other training or testing programs. The Common European Framework of Reference provides objective criteria for describing and assessing language proficiency in an internationally comparable manner. The CEFR describes six levels of language ability: A1 (Breakthrough), A2 (Waystage), B1 (Threshold), B2 (Vantage), C1 (Effective Operational Proficiency), and C2 (Mastery). Each level is described in greater detail below:

A1 – Breakthrough

Students 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 – Waystage

Students 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 – Threshold

Students 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 traveling 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 – Vantage

Students can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization. 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 – Effective Operational Proficiency

Students can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize 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 organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

C2 – Mastery

Students can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarize 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 the most complex situations.

A comparison of the CEFR levels with those of other common training and testing programs is shown below:

A1 120+
A2 KET 3.0 – 4.0 38 – 56 225+ 21 – 39
B1 PET 4.0 – 5.0 57 – 86 550 – 755 40 – 59
B2 FCE 5.0 – 6.0 87 – 109 756 – 879 60 – 74
C1 CAE 7.0 – 8.0 110 – 120 880 – 973 75 – 89
C2 CPE 8.0+ 974 – 990 90+