Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment - Companion Volume

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The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR) is part of the Council of Europe’s continuing work to ensure quality inclusive education as a right of all citizens. This update to the CEFR, first published online in 2018 in English and French as the “CEFR Companion Volume with New Descriptors”, updates and extends the CEFR, which was published as a book in 2001 and which is available in 40 languages at the time of writing. With this new, user-friendly version, the Council of Europe responds to the many comments that the 2001 edition was a very complex document that many language professionals found difficult to access. The key aspects of the CEFR vision are therefore explained in Chapter 2, which elaborates the key notions of the CEFR as a vehicle for promoting quality in second/foreign language teaching and learning as well as in plurilingual and intercultural education. The updated and extended version of the CEFR illustrative descriptors contained in this publication replaces the 2001 version of them. 

This publication is the product of a project of the Education Policy Division of the Council of Europe. The focus in that project was to update the CEFR’s illustrative descriptors by:

  • highlighting certain innovative areas of the CEFR for which no descriptor scales had been provided in the set of descriptors published in 2001, but which have become increasingly relevant over the past 20 years, especially mediation and plurilingual/pluricultural competence;
  • building on the successful implementation and further development of the CEFR, for example by more fully defining “plus levels” and a new “Pre-A1” level;
  • responding to demands for more elaborate descriptions of listening and reading in existing scales, and for descriptors for other communicative activities such as online interaction, using telecommunications, and expressing reactions to creative texts (including literature);
  • enriching description at A1, and at the C levels, particularly C2;
  • adapting the descriptors to make them gender-neutral and “modality-inclusive” (and so applicable also to sign languages), sometimes by changing verbs and sometimes by offering the alternatives “speaker/signer”.

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