CEFR Presentation

What is the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)?

Tes your Spanish proficiency with Pipplet

What is the CEFR?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, ​​or CEFR, is a reference document published in 2001 by the Council of Europe. It is used in the context of language learning, specifically to help determine the language skill level of a person, on a global scale. It is the most commonly referenced chart for designing language teaching programs and benchmarks.

Assess skills that reflect true ability 

The CEFR provides detailed descriptions of each of the main skills (and more) by level: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. It is based on a communicative or “action-oriented” approach, which places successful interaction at the center of language study. Language is seen as purposeful, involving communication of meanings which are important to learners, in order to achieve specific goals, in specific circumstances or environments.

CEFR Levels

There are 3 main levels of classification which are further divided into 2 sub levels each, forming a total of 6 levels. “A” corresponds to the beginner levels (A1, A2), “B” corresponds to the intermediate levels (B1, B2), and “C” to the advanced levels (C1, C2).

Each level of the framework indicates what a person is able to do using the language. At the lower levels this may be that they are able to introduce themselves, at later levels it may indicate that they are capable of having a structured and nuanced conversation.

CEFR Level Descriptors
The following table illustrates the abilities of a candidate by stating what they can do at every CEFR level.


Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type (introducing themselves, asking about personal details such as place of residence, acquaintances, etc.). Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.


Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.


Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.


Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.


Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects.


Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources. Can express themselves spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.

Source: Adapted from the Council of Europe’s Global Scale - Common Reference Levels

Pipplet Sublevels

























To provide our clients with an even greater level of precision and actionable information, Pipplet has further divided each of the 6 standard CEFR levels into 3, for a total of 18 sublevels. 

B2+         High B2
B2           Mid B2
B2-         Low B2

B2-, B2 and B2+ are all considered to be B2 on the classic CEFR scale.

Evaluation Criteria

Pipplet’s language assessment is simple and transparent. Our examiners use the CEFR levels to directly assess every aspect of the spoken and written productions submitted by the candidate.

They pay particular attention to the following evaluation criteria: 
    • Spoken fluency
     • Overall writing skills 
     • Listening comprehension
    • Reading comprehension
     • Phonological control
     • Grammatical accuracy
     • Vocabulary range
     • Coherence and cohesion 

Pipplet’s standard evaluation report provides an overall grade, as well as grades for the skills of speaking and listening, and writing and reading. All skills are positioned on the CEFR grade scale. 

For a more in-depth understanding of your candidate’s level, you can upgrade to either the Talent+ or FLEX+. These reports provide CEFR scores for all the additional criteria above, e.g. phonological control, grammatical accuracy, vocabulary range etc., as well as the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. This additional information provides useful and actionable information for both client and candidate. More information on the different evaluation reports.

One Pipplet test campaign can save you up to 20 hours of time per recruit or employee! 


How do I choose a cut score?
How long does it take for a candidate to progress to the next CEFR level?
How do you evaluate native speakers?
How do you evaluate candidates who speak regional variants?
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