Introduction to CEFR.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and international language standards are explained by the experts at Cambridge English.

The CEFR categories language proficiency into six levels, A1–C2, which can be further subdivided based on the needs of the local context. Levels are defined by 'can-do' descriptors. The levels did not appear out of nowhere in 2001, but rather evolved over time, as described below.

Three tables of CEFR-

The three tables that follow are summaries of the original bank of "illustrative descriptors" developed and validated for the CEFR in the Swiss National Research project described in Appendix B of the volume. These formulations were mathematically scaled to these levels by analysing how they were interpreted in large numbers of learners' assessments.

Table 1 (CEFR 3.3): Global scale Common Reference Levels 

It is preferable to present the common reference points in different ways for different purposes. However, for some purposes, it will be necessary to summarise the proposed Common Reference Levels in a comprehensive table. A simple 'global' representation will make it easier to communicate the system to non-specialist users and will provide orientation points for teachers and curriculum planners. 

CEFR Global scale official translations 

Table 2 (CECR 3.3): Self-assessment grid for Common Reference Levels 

A more detailed overview is required to orient learners, teachers, and other users within the educational system for some practical purpose. Table 2 is a rough draught of a self-assessment orientation tool.

Table 3 (CECR 3.3): Common Reference Levels - Qualitative Aspects of Spoken Language Use 

This table's chart was created to evaluate spoken performances. It concentrates on various qualitative aspects of language use.


Based on these accomplishments, the CEFR has developed a description of the process of mastering an unknown language by type of competence and sub-competence, using descriptors for each competence or sub-competence, which we will not go into further detail here. These descriptors were developed without regard for any particular language, ensuring their relevance and universal applicability. The descriptors describe each skill's progressive mastery, which is graded on a six-level scale (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2).