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Level B2 required at the end of high school

Level B2 required at the end of high school in France. But what is a B2 level?

February 2020

In February 2018, on the EDHEC campus in Croix (France), French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe unveiled his action plan for foreign trade. One of the three components of this plan focuses on language learning, particularly English.

In concrete terms, the state will finance, for each student, an English certification recognised worldwide like the TOEIC® or TOEFL® tests, the objective being that each high school student reaches a B2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). As a reminder, level B2 is already the targeted level for the Baccalauréat test (high school exit exam in France). But what is a B2 level on the CEFR, and what does it correspond to?

The CEFR, the what?!

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages was set up by the Council of Europe in 2001, after several years of linguistic research. It constitutes a new approach whose main objective is to provide a common basis for the design of educational programmes, diplomas and certificates. The CEFR is divided into three general levels: the basic user (level A), the independent user (level B) and the proficient user (level C). Above all, this European framework provides a solid and objective basis for the recognition of language qualifications.

Each level is composed of five domains to be validated: written and oral comprehension, written and oral expression as well as continuous speaking (speaking alone on a given subject). In each European country, modern language learning is now based on these criteria and language level certifications use this scale to translate their scores into comparable levels that can be understood by all. ETS has produced numerous research works and studies related to the CEFR levels and in particular the correlation studies between the TOEIC tests and the CEFR levels.

Each level A, B or C is then subdivided into two levels 1 and 2. For level B (independent user), level B1 corresponds to the 'threshold level' which means that the user can understand the essential points of a clear and familiar language. It is considered that a B1 user can do well during a trip and can produce a simple and coherent speech. Basically, it's the beginning of autonomy!

Level B2: upper independent English level

Level B2 corresponds to a more advanced, more independent level than previous levels. A B2 user can communicate easily and spontaneously in a clear and detailed manner. This is not yet an experienced speaker, but a B2 user is able to understand and be understood in most situations. It is this level, in particular, that is necessary to integrate a North American university, even a school of great European renown. But it is also the B2 level that is generally required to work or do an internship abroad in most English-speaking countries. Generally, the user can feel a real progress when the B2 level is reached. This intermediate level marks an important break with those preceding. A B2 user can express himself naturally, easily and effectively and take the initiative to speak. But he is also able to understand and correct his own mistakes, foresee what he will say and how he will say it.

Therefore, at the end of the final year, a French high school student will have to reach this level in English. To help students understand their English-level proficiency, the CEFR is an important tool. As the TOEIC® scores are correlated onto it, test takers can prove they reached a B2 level thanks to the TOEIC® test. To find out where you are on the CEFR in English, all you need to do is go to our website www.yourenglishtest.com to access a free TOEIC® preparation test. At the end of the test, you will obtain your level on the CEFR. You can also use it to deepen your preparation before taking the TOEIC® test in any of our test centres worldwide. Furthermore, having a TOEIC® score on a resume recognized in more than 160 countries by more than 14,000 organizations is a major asset any students looking for job opportunities in today’s global market.