Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR, sometimes only CEF) is a framework prepared by the Council of Europe in order to standardize the level of language tests, certificates and language learning in different countries and regions. It is widely used not only in European countries and all major exams and certificates are mapped to the CEFR.
CEFR has together six basic levels of the language knowledge:
- A1 - The level of beginners who understand sentences and words relating to their persons and their surroundings. They are able to lead a very easy and simple conversation with a speaker who has patience with them. They can only express the basic ideas about themselves by phrases, which they know from the study. They can fill out a short forms asking to their person.
- A2 - Students at this level understand spoken word relating to someone and his surroundings or shopping and work. They can read simple texts and they are oriented, for example, in menus. They are able to easily converse and communicate information about themselves and use partly the past tense. They are also able to do simple description. They can write simple letters about themselves.
- B1 - Students at this level understand a speech on current affairs. They understand texts containing feelings, events, using the vocabulary of basic communication. They can communicate in everyday situations and are free to discuss topics that are familiar to them. They can talk and explain their desires, can write texts of their interests using the conditional.
- B2 - Students at this level understand mostly to spoken word, addressing common problems (TV, film). It is similarly when reading texts. They can also read prose written in the current language. They are able to converse fluently with native speakers in a known area and can express their views and the advantages and disadvantages of the problem. They can write detailed text of their area and capture in it clearly its meaning.
- C1 - Students at this level understand even unstructured speech. They are oriented in radio and TV programs. They understand and empathize to literary texts, understand professional texts. They communicate flexibly and express their thoughts clearly and without difficulty. They are able to speak clearly and in detail about all possible topics. In written text, they can choose the appropriate direction for the reader.
- C2 - Students at this level after a short adaptation easily understand to native speakers speaking about any topic. They are able to read complex texts and literary works and treatises with abstract coloring. In conversation, they express subtle shades of meaning, use idiomatic links. If they cannot express something, without any problem use other formulation, without disrupting the conversation. They can describe technical texts, etc.
Use of the CEFR in practice: The levels of CEFR are possible to map on all the major language certificates. In a number of organizations and countries, CEFR is understandable uniform expression of the language level.
Source: Cambridge ESOL English, http://www.cambridgeesol.org/about/standards/cefr.html