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CEFR

The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)

The CEFR is a widely applied and recognised global framework for learning and assessment which facilitates the comparison of language curricula, syllabuses and exams. In the context of language exams, the CEFR assists assessment providers, publishers, teachers, learners and other relevant stakeholders in setting consistent content and performance standards. The table below, for example, is a representation of how the CEFR can be used to compare the levels of LanguageCert exams against those of IELTS.

Language learners are categorised into three broad levels that are further broken down into two sublevels; Basic Users (A1, A2), Independent Users (B1, B2) and Proficient Users (C1, C2).

All exams developed by LanguageCert are aligned to the CEFR levels. In meeting these requirements, exam materials writers adhere to the highest international standards based on their extensive expertise, knowledge and understanding of the CEFR.

 

Alignment of the IESOL and SELT language qualifications to the CEFR

LanguageCert International ESOL (IESOL) Exam  CEFR IELTS
Exam Level Score per skill SELT requirement per skill CEFR Levels IELTS score bands
C2 Mastery

33 - 50

25 - 32

R, W, S 33 - 50 

L 25 - 50

C2 9.0 
C1 Expert

39 - 50

33 - 38

25 - 32

39 - 50

33 - 38

C1

 8.0

7.5

7.0

B2 Communicator

39 - 50

33 - 38

25 - 32

39 - 50

33 - 38

B2

6.5

6.0

5.5

B1 Achiever

39 - 50

33 - 38

25 - 32

39 - 50

33 - 38

B1

5.0

4.5

4.0

A2 Access

39 - 50

33 - 38

25 - 32

39 - 50

33 - 38

A2  
A1 Preliminary  

39 - 50

33 - 38

25 - 32

 

39 - 50

33 - 38

A1  

Version 1.0 20 July 2020 

  1. Overall Grades are reported as Pass or High Pass: Listening, Reading, Writing (L, R, W) aggregate 75-100 points for Pass, and 101-150 for High Pass; Speaking 25-34 for Pass, and 35-50 for High Pass.
  2. IESOL Statements of Results report the scores in each skill for the Written exam (L, R, W) and the Spoken exam (S).
  3. SELT Test Reports report the score for each skill on one Report (L, R, W, S) and for 2-facet tests only: (L, S).
  4. Exact equivalences tend to be complex and challenging owing to differences in test design and purpose (Taylor, 2004). Illustrative comparisons in the table above are indicative only.
  5. Source for the IELTS comparison: ielts.org/ielts-for-organisations/common-european-framework. As with LanguageCert’s International ESOL scores (with the exception of C2 Mastery), IELTS band scores represent overall aggregate band scores, not individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

What each CEFR level means

A1

A1

  • Can recognise familiar words, everyday expressions and very basic phrases when people speak slowly and clearly.
  • Can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences on familiar topics and obtain information from notices, posters and catalogues.
A2

A2

  • Can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance such as basic personal and family information, shopping, local area and employment.
  • Can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.
  • Can read and understand very short, simple texts such as personal letters.
  • Can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables.
B1

B1

  • Can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can understand the main point of many radio or TV programmes on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.
  • Can understand texts that consist mainly of high frequency every day or job-related language.
  • Can understand the description of events, feelings and wishes in personal letters.
B2

B2

  • Can understand extended speech and lectures and follow complex lines of argument, provided the topic is reasonably familiar.
  • Can understand most TV news, current affairs programmes and the majority of films in standard dialect.
  • Can read articles and reports concerned with temporary problems in which the writers adopt particular attitudes or viewpoints.
  • Can understand contemporary literary prose.
C1

C1

  • Can understand an extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signalled explicitly.
  • Can understand TV programmes and films without too much effort.
  • Can understand long and complex factual and literary texts, appreciating distinctions of style.
  • Can understand specialised articles and longer technical instructions that are relevant to various fields.
C2

C2

  • Can understand with ease any kind of spoken language, whether live or broadcast, even when delivered at fast native speed, provided there is a familiarity with the accent.
  • Can read virtually all forms of the written language at ease, including abstract and structurally or linguistically complex texts such as manuals, specialised articles and literary works.