CEFR Levels- Top Language Proficiency Tests

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CEFR is a globally accepted framework of excellence to examine one’s effectiveness in the usage of a language extensively. It is sort of reference guide that can be easily followed by anybody who wishes to educate, evaluate, improve and enhance one’s skills regarding a specific language.When somebody attempts to learn a new language, they first against themselves with it. For someone to master a language/know their level of command over it. They require some basis of comparison or a particular existing bodywork to look up to. The CEFR provides that particular structure needed to judge a person’s ability to express himself through the said language.

The CEFR has not mentioned any distinct rulebook to follow. To make the overall understanding of the structure simple, CERF has specified basic levels. These levels are categorized on basis of acquiring enough knowledge about a language’s grammar and the level of comfort while using it. The CEFR levels are created to determine the stages of one’s learning of a new means of communication.

The CEFR infects a prevalent basis for curriculum design, syllabus approach, specific rules and regulations for a decent communication. CEFR was first founded by Council of Europe to address the issue of unavailability of any standard to measure one’s proficiency in language usage.The CEFR finds its usage in many ways during the course of learning. As mentioned earlier, this basic framework can be used to highlight the milestones that an aspiring learner should accomplish to achieve a certain level of expertise.

The CEFR can be further used to:

    Set goals

    Evaluate improvement

    Check efficiency

    Conduct constant test

    Build confidence

Furthermore, CEFR was first developed for European native languages to assess their understanding and generate a standard common to all the Europeans.

Due to its flexible nature, the CEFR began to get recognized all over the world. Hence people of other countries also began to adopt it as the basis for many applications.

The world is totality consists of about 6909 living languages among 195 countries. Hence, in conclusion, we all know that many countries are multilingual in nature. It thus becomes a necessity to learn new languages and be well versed with them. The CEFR not only is adaptive to any language globally but also has the most generalized format. It thus can be easily adopted in courses where language skills have to be assessed.

Consider an example of a man wishing to learn a native language to negotiate a deal with people of a town for his business progress. He thus begins learning and it’s graded at a level. As CEFR has few levels A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2, The man is graded from beginner to highly efficient level as and when he shows advancement in his course. This versatile nature of the CEFR makes it easier for usage among all.

CEFR is one such standard that is of major importance in many fields. It finds its approach is highly suited in areas like:

    Quality assessment in employment

    Admission in educational institutes

    Course designing

    Evaluation of language learning skills

    Formation of blueprint for tests/exams

Many individuals apply for jobs and attend interviews on daily basis. Many companies have a global market and users using their resources all over the world. In such cases, they prefer candidates who are well-versed with more than one language or have the potential to learn new ones. Thus CEFR helps the interviewer understand the candidates’ language proficiency and rate him accordingly to first analyze the communication of an applicant, the recruiter should also have the knowledge of the CEFR and its levels.

Learning or teaching a new language is never an easy task. The CEFR thus makes its simpler by providing a generic framework structure that helps any layman understand the course of learning. Further, a whole syllabus can be mapped for easier implementations.

While designing a curriculum, experts and professionals use the date of previous years as a base to improve the existing programs. The CEFR is thus used as a basis for a new language teaching and course of learning design. The CEFR sets a benchmark for such practices.

Every standard or skill learning is not an easy task. It can be made easier by the kind of approach that is adapted to go ahead with its instructions and scheduling. To make the course easier the CEFR has since embraced the method of division of levels. The CEFR levels are categorized on basis of simplest understanding of a language to the highest level of proficiency attained. The particular scale has got 6 distinct levels. These levels are named as A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.

Every level has got its distinguished characteristic usage. Mastery of these levels with help the trainer evaluate the performance of the student better. The CEFR levels consider all the parameters within themselves and have evolved in such a way. That each level signifies certain exercise that must be fulfilled to move to next level.

We often see and come across advertisements about attaining fluency in a language in a span of 3/6 months or sometimes few days. Language mastery is something that happens over a long period of time during use and not in a matter of few days/months. We all are most comfortable with our mother-tongue because we have been speaking it since childhood. Using a new language in our day to day life thus becomes harder over time. The CEFR levels are thus crafted to make this almost impossible talk somewhat possible.

Many individuals plainly give up or end up using either a translator or as always Google translation to the issue. This becomes harder and more time-consuming. These CEFR levels are defined at a very elementary level that can make both the trainees and the learners more independent.

The CEFR levels can be taken as reference for self-assessment and thus promotes:

  • Better communication skills

  • Self-studies

  • Action-oriented approach

  • Interest in language

  • Important as levels increase

  • Awareness of course

  • Ability to question

Understanding of levels

C2                                                      Expert

C1                                                      Advanced   

B2                                                      Upper-Intermediate

B1                                                      Intermediate

A2                                                      Elementary

A1                                                      Beginner

   As the levels progress, every level has particular jobs to be done to move to next one.
  The CERF levels might be divided into 6 distinct levels but there is no mention of the same amount of time required to finish each level
  These levels can be attained by self-assessment or formal tests conducted. The formal test evaluation can produce certification regarding a level of excellence acquired.
  We often hear people saying ‘’ I am B2 level Russian’’, ‘’I am C1 level French’’, ’’I am A1 level German’’. These statements mean that he/she is proficient in the mentioned language up to the CEFR level.
The CEFR levels are not theoretical in nature, they mainly focus on practicality by stressing a usage of language while speaking and writing.
  As the levels advance the grammar and vocabulary of the language add up and usage of different phrases in different situations increase.

Level A1

This CEFR level is the simplest level of language learning. It involves an understanding of most commonly used words or expressions and trying to use them. This level is the one that introduces an individual to a language with the concept of adhering to most basic inquiry questions. If we consider the English language learning for example then if an individual claim to be A-level then he can answer or question the following:

    What is your name?
    Where do you live/where are you from?
    What is your job?
    How do you know him?

Since this is most basic level at this level the learner tends to speak at a slower pace and also can reply to one speaking at the same pace because he is new to the language. This level is aimed at providing a basic vocabulary of words used by a person on daily basis. A person well-versed at this level can interact to introduce himself and provide a few personal details. The opposite person has to help the beginner. To move to next level of proficiency the A1 level achiever must be able to tackle situations which involve meeting a new person in general, also be able to inquire himself regarding needs of the most concrete type.

LEVEL A2

Achieving this level indicates a description of circumstances that may require urgent attention. On searching this level, a person can continue the conversation by usually making remarks about matters of everyday life like:
    Very basic personal and family information
    Shopping
    Local geography
    Employment

This level of knowledge about language is a most basic requirement for a recruiter looking for a potential candidate. If the job demands a compulsory understanding of German then a candidate with A2 German can apply and qualify the evaluation. Since at this level conversation regarding weather, greeting a colleague etc areas that might require giving some detailed personal information.

 At this level A2, an individual can handle the situation where he needs to describe a matter that might immediately need a supervisory action. In an interview, some most basic questions regarding his/her family background, strengths, and weakness, environmental concerns brief introduction etc. here the person at this CEFR level can communicate in a simple and routine expression of work with direct exchange of details on a familiar day today matter at work or elsewhere.

LEVEL B1

Excelling at level A2 makes one capable of moving on to the next level B1. This CEFR LEVEL enables a person to completely understand and got down important points regarding dear standard input on familiar topics that he/she might come across in workplace, school, movies i.e day today experience. He can easily cast his own opinion on any matter during the conversation and imbibe information spoken in that specific language more comfortably.

At CEFR LEVEL B1 he/she can produce the most basic description of topics that he might be interested in or would further love to talk about. The person can also attain the comfort and ability to travel in an area where language is spoken and inquire about that particular place regarding its culture and practices.
Its importance for anybody to be able to express themselves and the listeners to understand that’s spoken. Attaining certification of CEFR level b1 helps one to elaborate his experiences regarding a particular event that has occurred, his dreams and hopes. Also, he can describe his future and ambitions in simple language by using basic vocabulary, phrases, and clauses. At this level, he can also understand proverbs and some simple indirect statements.

LEVEL B2

Attaining this level of language proficiency enables the person to produce particular information variety of aspects and topics. Here the person with CEFR level B2 can yield information and build a detailed text explaining overall observation regarding a topic including advantages disadvantages and its application.

At this level, he can confidently speak in public regarding anything with some rehearsal. He thus attains an ability to understand complicated texts in both concrete and conceptual subjects. Understanding of technical dialogues including the casting of his own opinion in the higher area of specialization. Interaction with native people of language in consideration highly improved with an increase in fluency without any extra effort.

This is an upper intermediate level where he/she can handle and address sudden inquiries by customers and also talk about his firm/company at large. Level B2 knowledge enables turn-taking of a person. Turn Taking means that a person of level b2 language can replace a superior at his job and handle the situation among the natives completely being at ease during the exchange of words.

LEVEL C1

At this CEFR level usage of the language in consideration for private, socio-economic and professional conditions increase as the level increase to a higher degree. Perceiving a broad range of commanding long texts or content and identification of indirect data in the narrative is achieved.

When a person experiences something or reads about a concerning subject, he/she wishes to express himself deeply. A CEFR LEVEL C1 certified individual can produce a long text with observation to small details. The produced document may include the systematic argument of description with headlines, introduction bullet points, the body of topic limitation future scope and conclusion.

The spontaneity of expression develops to a higher level of comfort. Now he may not have to take some time to think/frame an answer in a proper sentence. He has acquired knowledge of grammar and vocabulary to an extent where no obvious searching of phrases or sentences is required. Clarity and flexibility in speech, writing, and reading have highly strengthened. Understanding a native who speaks with high seed using complex words of that language is much easier after securing CEFR level c1 entirely.

LEVEL C2

Accomplishing CEFR level C2 of language. Understanding builds an ease to grasp everything that is spoken or read. This is the highest level of proficiency attained by a person. Mastering a language at their level gives him a standard certificate if he appears a format test conducted in that language.

If a recruiter poses a requirement of a particular language and candidate has attained CEFR LEVEl C2 then it is understood that he was excelled in the language perfectly without a doubt. He can convey his thoughts and idea very fluently in a well-defined manner. He can clearly distinguish fines shades of meaning even in complex situations.

Since he has acquired enough understanding of language he further proceeds to read various sources of information about a single topic. Achieving this level C2 enables him to hence yield a synopsis briefing data out of numerous talks attended books read speeches and presentation on that specific topic in the language learnt. Summarising information from the whole lot of different resources becomes a cake walk for CEFR level C2 accomplished candidate.