Reference Level Descriptions (RLDs) for national and regional languages provide detailed specifications of content at the different CEFR levels for a given language.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR) is potentially applicable to all the languages taught in Europe and does not, therefore, relate to any specific one. However, authors of textbooks, syllabus designers and language teachers have found its specifications to be insufficiently precise. Reference Level Descriptions (RLDs) language by language have therefore been drawn up to provide reference descriptions based on the CEFR for individual languages.

These RLDs are made up of “words” of a language rather than general descriptors. Reference levels identify the forms of a given language (words, grammar and so on), mastery of which corresponds to the competences defined by the CEFR. They transpose the CEFR descriptors into specific languages, level by level, from A1 to C2.

RLDs are not produced by the Council of Europe but by national teams using various approaches and, where appropriate, with the assistance of an expert nominated by the Council. Nevertheless, each one contains reference levels that are comparable to those in the CEFR and meet jointly drawn up criteria, as described in a Production Guide.    

Reference Level Descriptions: components and forerunners

Reference Level Descriptions are so far available for the following languages: Croatian, Czech, English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
Others are being developed.

In addition, simplified content specifications for English and French have been systematically developed by Eaquals with the British Council and the CIEP respectively: