What are the CEFR Levels?
CEFR stands for Common European Framework of Reference. The CEFR levels provide a way of describing a person’s language proficiency.
There are six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. A1 is the lowest level in terms of ability and C2 is the highest.
The CEFR levels were developed for European languages (not only English) and despite the word ‘European’ in the description, they are rapidly gaining popularity around the world.
The general descriptions of each level are as follows:
Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
Can express themselves spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.
Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
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 deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
Can describe in simple terms aspects of their background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Can introduce themselves and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people they know and things they have.
Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Language users at levels A1 and A2 are considered basic users.
Language users at levels B1 and B2 are considered independent users.
Language users at levels C1 and C2 are considered proficient users.
In layman’s terms, a person at A1 is able only to use simple phrases; a person at A2 is able to use simple sentences; a person at B1 is able to hold limited conversations; a person at B2 can hold longer conversations and is able to function in an English-speaking environment; a person at C1 has begun to master English but lacks knowledge of the subtleties of the language; and a person at C2 can function in the language to the same ability as an educated native speaker.