The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Learning, Teaching, Assessment

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), was published by the Council of Europe in 2001 as a reference document describing the knowledge and skills language learners have to develop to be able to communicate effectively in a foreign language. It provides a common basis for the development of language curricula and textbooks, and for the interpretation of the scores of language tests.

Discover our webinars

and learn more about our products!

What is the CEFR?

The CEFR describes language activities and competences at six main levels: A1 (the lowest) through A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2 (the highest). The levels include can-do statements, which describe in a positive way what language learners can do when they use a language, rather than what they cannot do.

The CEFR proficiency scales provide a convenient structure for thinking about and communicating a progression of language proficiency and for considering where people stand in relation to that progression. Therefore, mapping language test scores onto the CEFR levels is a useful way to assign practical meaning to those scores. ETS has conducted several studies to facilitate the interpretation of the scores of the language tests it develops in relation to the CEFR levels.

Mapping ETS’ tests onto the CEFR

The TOEIC® Programme

  • Mapping the TOEIC® Listening and Reading test onto the CEFR
  • Mapping the TOEIC® Speaking and Writing tests onto the CEFR
  • Mapping the TOEIC Bridge® test onto the CEFR

The TOEFL® Family of Assessments

  • Mapping the TOEFL iBT® test onto the CEFR
  • Mapping the TOEFL ITP® tests onto the CEFR
  • Mapping the TOEFL Primary® test onto the CEFR

The TFI test

  • Mapping the TFI test onto the CEFR