The CEFR Companion Volume with New Descriptors is now available online

Strasbourg 19 September 2017
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The CEFR Companion Volume with New Descriptors is now available online

The Companion Volume with New Descriptors (provisional Edition) 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 product of a project of the Education Policy Division (Language Policy Programme) of the Council of Europe carried out from 2014 to 2017. The focus in that project was to update the CEFR illustrative descriptors by:

  • highlighting certain innovative areas of the CEFR for which no descriptor scales had been provided in the 2001 set of descriptors, but which have become increasingly relevant over the past twenty years, especially mediation and plurilingual / pluricultural competence;
  •  building on the successful implementation and further development of the CEFR, for example by more fully defining ‘plus levels’ and a new ‘Pre-A1’ level;
  •  responding to demands for  more elaborate description of listening and reading in existing scales, and for descriptors for other communicative activities such as online interaction, using telecommunications, expressing reactions to creative text and literature;
  • enriching the description at A1, and at the C levels, particularly C2.

The “Companion Volume” presents:

  •  newly developed illustrative descriptor scales that are introduced alongside the existing ones;
  •  schematic tables with group scales belonging to the same category (communicative language activities or aspects of competence);
  •  a short rationale for each scale, explaining the thinking behind the categorisation;
  •  an appendix containing descriptors developed and validated in the project, but not subsequently included in the illustrative descriptors.

In addition to the extended illustrative descriptors, this CEFR Companion Volume contains an introduction to the aims and main principles of the CEFR.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR) was published in 2001 after a comprehensive process of drafting, piloting and consultation undertaken by the Council of Europe. Available now in 40 languages the CEFR is one of the best known and most used Council of Europe policy instruments and has been the subject of Recommendations by its Committee of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly. The CEFR has also been adopted by the European Commission, including in their EUROPASS project and the project to establish a European Indicator of Language Competence.

The Council of Europe will launch, within the 2018-2019 programme, dissemination activities with practitioners on the use of the Companion Volume and hopes that this new document will contribute to the promotion of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism through language education.

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