Introduction: Aligning Oomroom teaching and learning tools with the CEFR
(Загальноєвропейські Рекомендації з мовної освіти: вивчення, викладання, оцінювання –
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) offers a standard, or meterstick, to help gauge required or anticipated language skills in learners. It was developed by the Council of Europe (CoE), the continent’s oldest intergovernmental body. Together with stakeholders, leading language teaching institutions and subject matter experts, the CoE sought to create a standard way of describing language proficiency. In 2001, after years of research and study, the Council published a framework that now serves as a recognized standard. They came up with six proficiency levels, each with a specific set of indicators.
The CEFR proficiency levels are A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. The higher the number and the letter, the higher your proficiency. Even non-European countries, such as Canada have begun aligning their standardized test scores to the European framework.
The CEFR involves various linguistic skills: writing, listening, speaking and reading (See also “Addendum”, below). The descriptions for each level are for “communicative competence”—how well you’re able to understand and be understood by others.
CEFR Reference Levels and Descriptors
Summary: Understanding the Reference Levels
(Note: A0 or Pre-A1 represents NO prior experience with the language and so is not listed)
A1 – In this first level, the language learners are expected to be able to ask, answer and understand basic questions.
A2 – This stage is still about the basic and routine exchange of information, but with some ability to go into more information.
B1 – As this stage, learners are able to figure out the main points of a sentence or other input. Perhaps they do not understand every word, but they are also able to communicate some thoughts and intentions.
B2 – In this second level of “B,” there’s now some degree of spontaneity in communication. Learners are able to handle increasingly complex topics, even abstract and technical ones. For example, not only can they express opinions, but they can also go deeper into the discussion.
C1 – Learners communicate with ease and flexibility, using well-structured sentences and paragraphs. They are able to organize their thoughts without consciously searching for specific words or expressions. They also recognize implied meaning and use idiomatic and colloquial expressions. They would be able to hold their own with native speakers.
C2 – By this point, learners easily restructure and summarize information. They can express in another manner any form of communication, whether written or spoken. They can distinguish different shades of meaning.
Addendum: New Companion Descriptors
As of 2017, the CoE has published The Companion Volume of Descriptors, which is intended to complement the CEFR. It represents another important step in a process that has been pursued by the Council of Europe since 1971 and owes much to the contributions of members of the language teaching profession across Europe and beyond. It responds to requests that have been made by the groups involved in the field of language education to enhance the original illustrative levels with more descriptors, reflecting the new digital era.
Gaps have been filled, including descriptors for new areas: mediation (including reactions to creative text, both physical and online); online interaction; informal language use; and plurilingual/pluricultural competence; over four domains – public, personal, occupational, and educational.
(For assistance with your own instructional design, go to How To Use CEFR In Lesson Planning.)
For the purposes of the chart aligning the Oomroom teaching and learning tools to the CEFR, “mediation”, “online interaction”, and “informal language use” have been added to the original CEFR linguistic skill set mentioned earlier, and are considered according to the original A, B, C levels for the sake of simplicity.