The CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) ranges from A1-C2 and at IQ Global we cover A1-C1 levels across a range of courses and resources. English Voice, for example, is a signature course that has been designed on a spiral curriculum, so you study the same forty topics in more complex ways at each level. Usually, you can identify your overall level – you might have some English knowledge and be A2 for example. How do you know when you’re ready to move on to B1? Or if you’re at B2 level, what do you need to learn to become a proficient (C1) English language user? This is where the CEFR descriptions become very useful. They not only help you identify your own skills but also help educators to identify the point a learner is starting from and what they need to progress. The CEFR is a worldwide standard for measuring European language skills. How are these language skills measured? There are five categories:
Spoken Interaction, Spoken Production, Listening, Reading, and Writing.
The CEFR is recognized as a trusted source for measuring language skills and is the reference IQ Global uses for planning and developing courses like English Voice. You may be familiar with the abilities of each level already, but if not, this blog will provide you with an easy reference to the CEFR!
Firstly, there are three branches (A, B and C) and two levels within each branch.
A1 and A2 are basic learners who need a lot of support when interacting in English.
B1 and B2 are known as independent learners because they can communicate in most common (everyday) situations.
C1 and C2 are known as advanced and proficient users. At these levels, you are able to use complex vocabulary both socially and professionally. Let’s take a deeper look at the skills of each level.
A1- Beginner At this level, learners are still relatively new to English and will focus on basic nouns and simple tenses. Learners at A1 can understand and use basic vocabulary to give information about themselves and their family members. For example, they can usually introduce themselves and answer easy questions about themselves. Interactions in English need to be simple and slow-paced. A2- Elementary At this level, learners start to use more common expressions and phrases to describe more about themselves or to discuss topics like background, routines and shopping. These learners function better when there is a direct exchange of information and when they are met with easy instructions.
B1- Intermediate B1 is where learners start to think more independently and experiment with language to express their thoughts. B1 learners can usually understand and talk about topics like travel and professions, answering questions like ‘What does a doctor do?’ They start to communicate in more complex ways, such as giving advice. B1 learners can also create short texts based on personal opinion, such as likes and dislikes. These learners can offer some ideas or opinions on current events. B2- Upper-Intermediate At this stage, things start getting exciting! With a broad range of vocabulary and a good working knowledge of grammar, B2 learners are able to tackle more complex texts and determine what the main ideas are. They can also communicate in more complex ways, discussing a variety of concrete (real life) and abstract topics. It is at B2 level that learners become more comfortable with their own abilities and this leads to greater fluency.
C1- Advanced When you have reached this level, you are officially an advanced English user. At this level, learners can discuss or debate most topics effectively and function fluently and spontaneously in the English-speaking world.
Why are these levels important? The CEFR is used by employers, schools, and universities worldwide. It is sometimes required to prove that you can function in an English-speaking country: for example, to achieve the ‘Right to Remain’ in the UK, you must pass an assessment that shows you are B1 or above. It is also an essential system in education because any school, college or university can accurately test a learner’s abilities and place them in the right level of class. Plus, the level descriptors help educators track their learners progress.
We pride ourselves on the fact that we base our course design on the CEFR. Our English Voice course is focused on the particular skills of each level, not only for speaking, but all five categories: Spoken Interaction, Spoken Production, Listening, Reading, and Writing. The advantage of studying the same forty topics in more complex ways through each level is that you can build a strong vocabulary around each topic. Also, you can start English Voice at any level and still obtain the same benefits! We hope you’ve found this quick guide to the CEFR useful. If you are unsure or feel you are between levels, why not take the IQ Global Level Assessment to find out where you are and where you need to go!
We also have an English Voice taster at each level, absolutely free. Just sign up to the website to access this amazing free content and try before you buy!
We hope you have enjoyed this blog. As always, you will progress more by reading, listening and practising your English so make sure you check out IQ Global for free resources and our YouTube channel. See you next time!