Level Overview

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, abbreviated as CEFR, is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and, increasingly, in other countries. It was put together by the Council of Europe as the main part of the project "Language Learning for European Citizenship" between 1989 and 1996. Its main aim is to provide a method of learning, teaching and assessing which applies to all languages in Europe. In November 2001 a European Union Council Resolution recommended using the CEFR to set up systems of validation of language ability. The six reference levels (see below) are becoming widely accepted as the European standard for grading an individual's language proficiency.

The Common European Framework divides learners into three broad divisions that can be divided into six levels and describes what a learner is supposed to be able to do in reading, listening, speaking and writing at each level.

Level GroupABC
Level Group NameBasic UserIndependent UserProficient User
Class Hours80-120160-240240-360320-480400-600480-720
Level NameBreakthrough or BeginnerWaystage or ElementaryThreshold or IntermediateVantage or Upper IntermediateEffective Operational Proficiency or AdvancedMastery or Proficiency

Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.

Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).

Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.

Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.

Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.

Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.

Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.

Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.

Can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.

Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.

Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.

Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.

Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.

Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.

Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.

Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

GermanGoethe-InstitutStart Deutsch 1Start Deutsch 2Zertifikat DeutschGoethe-Zertifikat B2, ZDfBGoethe-Zertifikat C1 - Zentrale MittelstufenprüfungZentrale Oberstufenprüfung, Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom
TestDaF---------TDN 3 — TDN 4TDN 5---
EnglishIELTS (University of Cambridge)---3.0 - 3.54.0 - 4.55.0 - 6.57.0 - 8.08.0 - 9.0
TOEFL (IBT) - university level9 - 29---57 - 8687 - 109110 +[31]/110 - 120---
TOEFL (ITP) - standard---337460543627---
FrenchCIEP / Alliance française diplomasTCF A1 / DELF A1TCF A2 / DELF A2 / CEFP 1TCF B1 / DELF B1 / CEFP 2TCF B2 / DELF B2 / Diplôme de LangueTCF C1 / DALF C1 / DSLCFTCF C2 / DALF C2 / DHEF
CILSA1A2UnoDueTreQuattro/DIT C2
SpanishDELEA1A2B1 (formerly "Inicial")B2 (formerly "Intermedio")C1C2 (formerly "Superior")
ChineseChinese Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK)HSK Level 1HSK Level 2HSK Level 3HSK Level 4HSK Level 5HSK Level 6
ChineseTest of Chinese As A Foreign Language (TOCFL) (Taiwan)TOCFL Level 1TOCFL Level 2TOCFL Level 3TOCFL Level 4TOCFL Level 5---