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Understanding the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)



The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is a comprehensive guideline developed by the Council of Europe to evaluate and describe foreign language proficiency. Launched in 2001, the CEFR has revolutionized language learning, teaching, and assessment by providing a transparent, coherent, and adaptable framework. This article delves into the essence of CEFR, its levels, and its significance in language education.


What is the CEFR?

The CEFR is a tool designed to facilitate the learning, teaching, and assessment of languages across Europe, including the Romanian language. It introduces a standardized method for gauging language proficiency, applicable to all European languages. The framework is built upon six reference levels, forming a scale of linguistic competence that is widely recognized and used across the continent.


A Non-Prescriptive Framework

Unlike prescriptive guidelines, the CEFR serves as a reflection tool, fostering quality, coherence, and transparency in language education. It provides a common meta-language and proficiency scales that empower language professionals. The CEFR does not dictate specific practices but offers a robust foundation for developing language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, teaching materials, and proficiency assessments.


CEFR Levels Explained

The CEFR organizes language proficiency into six levels, ranging from A1 to C2. These levels are grouped into three broad categories:

  1. Basic User (A1, A2)

  2. Independent User (B1, B2)

  3. Proficient User (C1, C2)

Each level is defined by ‘can-do’ descriptors, which outline specific competencies and skills that learners should master. These levels, developed through extensive research and empirical examination, provide a detailed and progressive understanding of language proficiency.


Development and Adaptability

The CEFR levels were not created overnight but evolved over time to meet teaching and certification needs. Therefore, the framework’s adaptability allows it to be applied in various contexts and for multiple languages, reflecting the CEFR’s broad relevance and utility.


Extended CEFR Descriptors

The CEFR has continued to evolve, with the “Companion Volume” expanding its scope to include modern language education needs. This updated volume introduces new descriptors for mediation, online interaction, plurilingual/pluricultural competence, and sign language competencies. All descriptors are now gender-neutral and modality-inclusive, enhancing their applicability across diverse learning environments.


Significance of the CEFR

The CEFR plays a crucial role in promoting linguistic and cultural diversity, reinforcing the right to quality education, and fostering intercultural dialogue. By providing a common framework, it enhances social inclusion and democracy, making language education more accessible and equitable.



The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) stands as a pivotal development in language education. Its comprehensive, adaptable, and non-prescriptive nature makes it an invaluable tool for learners, educators, and language professionals. By understanding and utilizing the CEFR, individuals can navigate the complexities of language learning and achieve higher levels of proficiency and communication.


Following CEFR Standards in Our Teaching

When we teach, whether it is Romanian or Spanish, whether in group modules or private lessons, we always adhere to the standards set by the CEFR.

Now that you know more about your goals in relation to the CEFR standard, join our Romanian lessons to ensure you follow a well-structured and coherent learning plan. We are confident that you will be more than satisfied with your results.



  1. Europass
  2. Council of Europe – Introduction and Context
  3. Council of Europe – CEFR
  4. Council of Europe – Level Descriptions


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