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Why Cambridge English?
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) plays a central role in language and education policy worldwide. It has growing relevance for language testers and examination boards, helping to define language proficiency levels and interpret language qualifications.
The CEFR describes language ability on a scale of levels from A1 for beginners up to C2 for those who have mastered a language. This makes it easy for anyone involved in language teaching and testing (learners, teachers, teacher trainers, etc.) to see the level of different qualifications. It also means that employers and educational institutions can easily compare qualifications and see how they relate to exams they already know in their own country.
See a larger version of the CEFR diagram here
Cambridge English Language Assessment was involved in the development of this standard. Brian North, one of the authors of the Framework, has said that:
“We’re really at the beginning of the process of validating the claims which are made by the examination boards about the relationship of their exams to the Framework. There is a difference between having a very good idea of what the relationship is and confirming it. Cambridge ESOL is an exception, because there is a relationship between the levels in the CEF [Common European Framework] and the levels of the Cambridge ESOL exams.” (Interview with Brian North in ELT News, Feb 06.)
All of our exams are aligned with the levels described by the CEFR.
More on the relationship between Cambridge English and the CEFR
Find more information on the CEFR on the Council of Europe website
Examples of Speaking test performance at CEFR Levels A2–C2
Using the CEFR: Principles of Good Practice
Find out about ALTE and the Can-Do statements
Cambridge English Language Assessment was involved in developing the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which has become an international benchmark for language ability. We are now closely involved with English Profile – an exciting new project which will further develop the CEFR for the English language.
English Profile is a long-term, collaborative programme of research, consultation and publication, designed to enhance the learning, teaching and assessment of English worldwide.
This multi-disciplinary team is working to ‘profile’ a set of Reference Level Descriptions for English linked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). These will provide detailed information about the language that learners can be expected to demonstrate at each level, offering a clear benchmark for progress that will inform curricula development as well as the development of courses and test material to support learners, teachers and other professionals involved in the teaching of English as a foreign language.
The Cambridge English Profile Corpus (CEPC) is a corpus of learner English produced by students worldwide, and is being built by Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment, in collaboration with a network of participating educational establishments across the world. These establishments include schools, universities, and private language schools, along with research centres, government bodies (such as ministries of education) and individual education professionals.
The CEPC aims to provide 10 million words of data, covering both spoken (20%) and written (80%) language. Both General English (60%) and English for Specific Purposes (40%) are included.
Go to the English Profile website