Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

europe map165250170Learning a language can be quite difficult! Questions like, how can I determine my level of proficiency? How do I communicate my abilities to an employer, organization or school? What do I need to focus on to improve my English? These are all questions that are addressed using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). We have created resources to help you understand the Common European Framework and how it will work for you!

What is the Common European Framework?

The Common European Framework (CEFR) was developed in Europe as a measure of proficiency among learners of new languages. Before, determining your level of fluency was difficult. Now, with the development of the Common European Framework, language-learning is more focused and guided. The CEFR divided language learning into six levels of fluency, providing criteria and assessments at various levels to help chart your progress.

Why Use the CEFR to measure your English proficiency?

Because the Common European Framework is standardized and accepted worldwide, you can easily find materials and coursework geared toward your level of proficiency and then provides future direction for improvement. Before its creation, levels were not clearly outlined to provide standardized evaluation of performance. With the development of the Common European Framework, this scale enhanced transparency of courses, syllabus, qualification, curricula, examinations, textbooks, etc. Now, learners are able to find the appropriate match of material and class work and convey a language level in a context that is understood worldwide.

Background on the CEFR

Historically speaking, around the time when the European Union was first developing, Europe realized that one of the barriers of forming a union was language. At the same time, member states were committed to promoting freedom for people to speak and write in their own native language. This spirit spread throughout Europe largely contributing to a focus of learning multiple languages so that individuals could communicate in their native tongue as well as in other languages. Today, there are 23 official languages throughout the European Union and about 150 regional and minority languages spoken by up to 50 million people.

Keeping consistent with the EU’s philosophy, the Common European Framework was designed to bring communities and culture together to promote languages commonly found in Europe. Because the Common European Framework is a standardized scale offered in multiple languages, it is used by individuals around the world as a key indicator for language fluency and proficiency. The Common European Framework provides a standard proficiency scale for languages found throughout Europe, including:

Arabic · Albanian · Armenian · Basque · Bulgarian · Catalan · Chinese · Croatian · Czech · Danish · Dutch · English · Esperanto · Estonian · Finnish · French · Friulian · Galician · Georgian · German · Greek · Hungarian · Italian · Japanese · Korean · Lithuanian · Moldovan · Norwegian · Polish · Portuguese · Russian Serbian (Iekavian version) · Slovak · Spanish · Swedish · Ukrainian

Purpose of the CEFR

According to the creator of the scale, the Council of Europe, the Common European Framework provides a common basis that describes what knowledge and skills learners have to develop inside of a cultural context. Because of its organization, the proficiency scale is intended to give learners the ability to self evaluate and determine what is needed to achieve the next level. This scale is also commonly used by educational institutions and employers to determine the level of fluency of your secondary language. Your language performance can be an important determination for employment opportunities or entrance into educational institutions.

Now that you have an understanding of what the Common European Framework is, now let’s take a look at some other resources that you may find helpful:

These tools are designed to help you find progress and improve your English language skills. You can evaluate your current level by taking an English language exam or self evaluation, find material at your level, and target how to improve. See the links above to find out how the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages can help you!

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