What are the CEFR and CEFR-CV?
The CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching and Assessment) is an internationally recognized standard of second (or foreign) language proficiency designed to provide a transparent, coherent and comprehensive basis for curriculum guidelines, teaching and learning materials, and language proficiency assessment. The CEFR views the user/learner as a “social agent” or member of society that is developing competences for accomplishing tasks rather than just memorizing measurable vocabulary and grammar rules. This is reflected in the descriptors.
The CEFR was published in 2001, and updated with a 2018 Companion Volume with New Descriptors (CEFR-CV).
The main contents are:
Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of Europe, 2001) The CEFR describes language use through real life communicative activities which are organized into four modes of communication, plus general and communicative language competences. The CEFR defines six reference levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 through ‘Can Do descriptors’ that describe ability for different types of activities and competences.
Common European Framework of Reference for Languages - Companion Volume (Council of Europe, 2018)
The CEFR Companion Volume updates the CEFR with a text which explains the main principles and concepts for teaching and learning, enhances the original scales of descriptors and adds new scales for mediation, plurilingual / pluricultural competences, online communication, literature appreciation, phonological competence, and sign languages competence.
The Descriptors can be found in these CEFR components:
1. Common Reference Levels: Global scale
2. Common Reference Levels: Self-assessment grids
3. Common Reference Levels: Qualitative aspects of spoken language use
4. The Descriptive Scheme
Other important resources that are related to or derived from CEFR
In addition to the tables in this document, any project using CEFR would benefit by utilizing the following CEFR-related resources: The English Profile: A key aspect of the CEFR is that it is not specific to one language. It is designed so that the descriptors apply to a language learner of any language. To complement the CEFR the Council of Europe urged regional governments to formulate Reference Level Descriptions (RLDs) for national and regional languages and the English Profile is the result of the efforts to create an RLD for English. The key elements are: 1. The English Vocabulary Profile: https://www.englishprofile.org/wordlists
Words, phrases, idioms and collocations organized by CEFR level. 2. The English Grammar Profile: https://www.englishprofile.org/english-grammar-profile
Grammatical structures organized by CEFR level.
3. Text Inspector: https://textinspector.com/
Analyzes the vocabulary and discourse level of English text and provides a scorecard based on CEFR levels. Free up to 250 words, subscriptions for longer texts available.
Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE), who helped to create the Can-do descriptors provide valuable guidelines that are particularly useful for ELT professionals involved with language proficiency assessments. https://www.alte.org/Materials
The British Council and EAQUALS (Evaluation and Accreditation of Quality Language Services) Core Inventory of General English: https://www.eaquals.org/resources/the-core-inventory-for-general-english/
The Core Inventory contains guidance on teaching points at each CEFR level, with a summary of key points and detailed language examples for each level.
ELP: The European Language Portfolio: https://www.coe.int/en/web/portfolio The ELP consists of three components; a language passport, a language biography, and a dossier. Learners can record their language learning achievements and assess themselves in relation to the CEFR’s proficiency levels.
European Centre for Modern Languages: CEFR-QualiMatrix: https://www.ecml.at/ECML-Programme/Programme2016-2019/QualityassuranceandimplementationoftheCEFR/tabid/1870/language/en-GB/Default.aspx The Quality Assurance Matrix for CEFR aims to promote language learning by supporting teachers and other ELT professionals engaging in curriculum development aligned with the CEFR.
Pearson Global Scale of English GSE: https://www.pearson.com/english/about/gse.html Pearson promotes the GSE as a global English language standard that extends the CEFR. It provides a scale from 10 to 90 within a CEFR level and includes 2,000 Learning Objectives, 450 Grammar Objectives, 39,000 Vocabulary word meanings and more than 200 job profiles.