European Framework of Reference for Languages

Our language courses are based upon the European Framework of Reference for Languages.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, or CEFR, is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe.

It was put together by the Council of Europe as the main part of the project “Language Learning for European Citizenship” between 1989 and 1996.

Its main aim is to provide a method of assessing and teaching which applies to all languages in Europe.

In November 2001 a European Union Council Resolution recommended using the CEFR to set up systems of validation of language ability.

The six reference levels (see below) are becoming widely accepted as the standard for grading an individual’s language proficiency.


The Common European Framework divides learners into three broad divisions which can be divided into six levels:

A Basic User

  • A1 Breakthrough
  • A2 Waystage

B Independent User

  • B1 Threshold
  • B2 Vantage

C Proficient User

  • C1 Effective Operational Proficiency
  • C2 Mastery

The CEFR describes what a learner is supposed to be able to do in reading, listening, speaking and writing at each level, in detail, for example this descriptor for C2:

“Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.”

These descriptors can apply to any of the languages spoken in Europe, and there are translations in many languages.

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