The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) was created by the Council of Europe (CoE) in 2001 to provide a consistent and comprehensive structure for the teaching, learning and assessment for all European languages. Now the framework is increasingly being used in other continents besides Europe.

There are six levels within the CEFR and these are A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. Language proficiency is assessed and graded according to the standards of these six levels, being A1 the beginner level and C2 the most advanced. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) enables language certification to be recognised across Europe. This is vital for employers and educators to evaluate individuals’ language proficiency.

Language activities

Four language activities are recognised: production (spoken and written), reception (listening and reading), interaction (spoken and written), and mediation (translating and interpreting). The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) provides guidance as to what a language learner is expected to be able to do in these areas.

Spanish DELE exams

The official Spanish qualifications to prove a learner’s Spanish level are the DELE diplomas (Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera). DELE exams are certified by Spain’s official language institute El instituto Cervantes which was created by the Spanish government in 1991. DELE exams follow the A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 framework of CEFR.

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Level A – Basic Users

Level A1 learners are classified as being at the beginner stage. At this level a learner should be able to understand basic phrases and common expressions and have the ability to interact in a simple way if the other person speaks clearly and slowly.

Level A2 learners are classified as being at the elementary stage. They should understand common expressions related to immediate topics such as personal information, employment, and shopping and be capable of exchanging information simply and directly on routine matters.

Level B – Independent Users

Level B1 learners are classified as being at the intermediate stage. At this level a learner is expected to be able to understand the main points of everyday interactions and write simple but accurate texts related to common personal topics. B1 learners should also be able to deal with issues that arise while travelling in a country where the target language is spoken and describe experiences and give reasons for plans and opinions.

Level B2 learners are classified as upper intermediate and should be able to interact confidently and regularly with native speakers. They are expected to be able to understand the main ideas of complex texts and produce their own detailed texts on many subjects.

Level C – Proficient Users

Level C1 learners are classified as being at the advanced stage. They can interact spontaneously, fluently and effectively in a wide range of situations, social, academic and professional. They can understand longer and more demanding texts and produce their own detailed, complex, well structured texts.

Level C2 is the highest level in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and learners are classified as being at the proficiency stage, having mastered the language. C2 learners can easily understand almost everything they read and hear. They can express themselves precisely, fluently and spontaneously in even the most complex of situations.

Please take a look at the Council of Europe website if you are interested in learning the finer details of the six levels of foreign language proficiency A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.