CEFR what is it?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment,abbreviated in English as CEFR or CEF or CEFRL, is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and, increasingly, in other countries. 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 learning, teaching and assessing 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 European standard for grading an individual’s language proficiency.

CEFR levels

cefr english
cefr globe

Who uses the CEFR?

The CEFR is used in language teaching throughout Europe, both in the public education sector and in private language schools. In many countries, it has replaced previous levelling systems used in foreign language teaching. Many education ministries in Europe have an explicit CEFR-based goal for all students leaving secondary school, for example B2 in their first foreign language, B1 in their second. For job seekers, many European adults use a standardised test score, like the TOEIC, to describe their English level.

The CEFR use outside of Europe is much narrower, although some individual countries in Asia and Latin America have adopted it in their education systems.

How the CEFR compares

The CEFR can be compared to other English exam tests. The tables below show that comparison.

Free English CEFR test


Take our CEFR assessment test. See what CEFR level you are.

Self assessment

Click the button below to do a self assessment of your CEFR level

Self Assessment

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