The Common European Framework provides a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe. It describes in a comprehensive way what language learners have to learn in order to use a language for communication and what knowledge and skills they have to develop so as to be able to act effectively. The description also covers the cultural context in which language is set. The Framework also defines levels of proficiency which allow learners’ progress to be measured at each stage of learning and on a life-long basis.
The Framework is the result of studies carried out by the Council of Europe over almost a decade. It provides a common basis for the elaboration of foreign language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks etc. across Europe. This document draws on the studies carried out in the field of European languages’ teaching and learning and suggests to divide competence descriptors and communicative skills into three general levels:
A1 – Breakthrough Level
Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce oneself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where they live and people they know. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
A2 – Waystage Level
Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). 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.
B1 – Threshold Level
Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area
where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected texts on topics which 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.
B2 – Vantage Level
Can understand the main ideas of complex texts on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization. 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.
C1 – Effectiveness Level
Can understand a wide range of demanding,longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. Can express him/herself 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 texts on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
C2 – Mastery Level
Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing topics and accounts in a coherent presentation. express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.