Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR)

A transparent, coherent and comprehensive reference instrument

The result of over twenty years of research, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR) is exactly what its title says it is: a framework of reference. It was designed to provide a transparent, coherent and comprehensive basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses and curriculum guidelines, the design of teaching and learning materials, and the assessment of foreign language proficiency. It is used in Europe but also in other continents.

The CEFR is available in 40 languages
Asset Publisher Asset Publisher

Selection of other CEFR-related documents

Inventaire linguistique des contenus clés aux niveaux du CECR . 2015. Eaquals et CIEP, Paris. www.eaquals.org   From communicative to action-oriented: a research...

Reference Level Descriptions (language by language) 

New section : Reference Level Descriptions (language by language)   providing detailed specifications of content at the different CEFR levels for...

ALTE Guidelines for the Development of Language for Specific Purposes Tests

ALTE Guidelines for the Development of Language for Specific Purposes Tests  (2018): a supplement to the Manual for Language Test Developing and...

Reference level descriptions (RLDs) developed so far

Depending on the member state concerned, a variety of individuals and establishments have been responsible for developing RLDs, including official institutions, bodies responsible for teaching a...

Cadre intro home

A transparent, coherent and comprehensive reference instrument The result of over twenty years of research, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching,...

news

Conference : Building Inclusive Societies through Enriching Plurilingual and Pluricultural Education . Strasbourg, 17 May 2018. Launch of the " CEFR Companion Volume with new...

Actualités précédentes

New section : Reference Level Descriptions (language by language)   providing detailed specifications of content at the different CEFR levels for national and regional languages ...

Recommendation and resolution

Council of Europe recommendations Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers to member states The Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europe’s decision-making body (47 member...

Manual for relating Language Examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

Relating Language Examinations to the 'Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment' (CEFR).  A Manual The primary aim of this Manual is to help...

Documents

Language Policy Programme, Council of Europe, Strasbourg Language Policy Documents Supporting Material (CEFR) Relation between the CEFR and the ELP Use of the CEFR for...

Responsibility of member states in the use of common references

The very rapid adoption of the CEFR in Europe and the increasingly widespread use of its scales of proficiency levels raised a number of policy issues, which led to the organisation of an...

The CEFR descriptors

The CEFR Common Reference levels are fully defined in a structured set of illustrative ‘can-do’ descriptors for many different categories. The original descriptors for both the CEFR and...

Practical resources

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Developing illustrative descriptors of aspects of mediation for the CEFR . 2016. Brian North and...

A concrete example of the use of Council of Europe specifications: world-wide used multimedia courses

A concrete example of the use of Council of Europe specifications:  multimedia courses used world-wide English : In the late 1970s, BBC produced the crash course “Follow me”, a...
Focus Focus
CEFR Companion Volume with New Descriptors (2018) including Sign Languages

It is intended as a complement to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR). It represents another important step in a process that has been pursued by the Council of Europe since 1971 and owes much to the contributions of members of the language teaching profession across Europe and beyond. The “Companion Volume” is the Council of Europe’s response to requests that have been made by the groups involved in the field of language education to complement the original illustrative scales with more descriptors. 

Six levels of foreign language proficiency

The CEFR describes foreign language proficiency at six levels: A1 and A2, B1 and B2, C1 and C2. It also defines three ‘plus’ levels (A2+, B1+, B2+)

Based on empirical research and widespread consultation, this scheme makes it possible:

  • to establish learning and teaching objectives
  • to review curricula
  • to design teaching materials and
  • to provide a basis for recognising language qualifications thus facilitating educational and occupational mobility.

A European Indicator of Language Competence

Following a call for action by the Barcelona European Council (March 2002), the European Commission has developed a survey based on the CEFR (see Executive Summary 2012) to measure the foreign / second language proficiency of pupils at the end of compulsory education.

The purpose of the survey was to establish a European Indicator of Language Competence, providing member states with internationally comparable data on the results of foreign language teaching and learning in the European Union

Using the CEFR in specific contexts

The CEFR does not offer ready-made solutions but must always be adapted to the requirements of particular contexts, for example, the teaching and learning of Romani.

There is a particular need for careful interpretation and adaptation is especially acute when the CEFR’s descriptive scheme and proficiency levels are used for example to explore the communicative needs of adult migrants (www.coe.int/lang-migrants) and to guide the assessment of their proficiency in the language of their host community (see relevant studies).

The CEFR is much more than proficiency scales

The CEFR’s scales of foreign language proficiency are accompanied by a detailed analysis of communicative contexts, themes, tasks and purposes as well as scaled descriptions of the competences on which we draw when we communicate.

The CEFR is used in teacher education, the reform of foreign language curricula, the development of teaching materials and for the comparability of qualifications.

Language Policy Portal

www.coe.int/lang

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is published in English by Cambridge University Press - ISBN Hardback 0521803136 Paperback: 0521005310

The French version is published by Editions Didier: Cadre européen commun de référence pour les langues: apprendre, enseigner, évaluer. ISBN: 9782278058136

Publishers

The copyright belongs to the Council of Europe. Requests concerning the translation or the reproduction of all or part of the CEFR should be addressed to the Council of Europe.

Important Note

The use of the Council of Europe’s logo or of the European emblem for certification is not authorised. It is not the role of the Council of Europe to verify and validate the quality of the link between language examinations or diplomas and the CEFR's proficiency levels.

Member states are responsible for guaranteeing the quality and fairness of testing and assessment on the basis of the existing guidelines (including tools and illustrations) developed in the frame of the Council of Europe’s  Language Policy Programme (Strasbourg).