How the CEFR Can Help You
The CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) has become the industry standard for measuring language proficiency and a key resource for educational policy worldwide.
It's given us new ways to learn, teach and assess English. Here are some free tools to help teachers use the CEFR to become better educators!
The English Profile
The English Profile describes what aspects of English are learned at each CEFR level. It’s based on decades of research data from learners all over the world.
The English Profile uses the CEFR to tell teachers, curriculum developers, coursebook authors and test writers what is suitable for learning at each level. The English Profile features two free innovative online tools: the English Vocabulary Profile online and also the English Grammar Profile online.
English Vocabulary Profile (EVP) Online
The EVP offers reliable information about which words (and importantly, which meanings of those words) and phrases are known and used by learners at each of the six levels of the CEFR.
The EVP contains not only information about words, but also about phrases, idioms, and collocations.
You can generate lists of words for each level.
You can also filter these using the advanced search functions, to find out, for example, what 'food and drink' vocabulary A1 learners know or which phrasal verbs are known at B2 level.
You can also use the wildcard * search to discover, for example, which '-ing' adjectives are known at B1 (see example).
There is a British and American English version, and there is audio pronunciation for all entries.
Cambridge is making the A1-C2 English Vocabulary Profile available free of charge to teachers and educationalists around the world.
You can subscribe on this page.
English Grammar Profile (EGP)
The EGP shows how students develop the correct grammatical as they advance through the CEFR levels. It provides a worldwide grammar profiles for each level.
Like vocabulary, grammatical forms often have more than one meaning. For example, the modal verb 'may' can be used with various meanings at different levels.
The EGP tells us at which level we see learners of English using them correctly and appropriately.
A2 - Weak possibility: "The weather may be hot."
B1 - Formal permission: "May I borrow your bike?"
C1 - 'May well': "You may well find that this is not the case."
C2 - 'May as well': "We may as well go home."
The Cambridge Learners Dictionary
The Cambridge Learner's Dictionary is another great free tool you can use
Like any online dictionary, you simply type in the word and it will give the meaning, part of speech and an audio recording of the correct pronunciation in British and in American English.
However, it will also give you the specific CEFR level—from A1 to C2—for each use of the word.
Here’s a “rich” example.
If you were to say, “My uncle is rich,” you would be using rich at an A2 level.
But if you were to say that “orange juice is rich in vitamin C”, you would need a higher level of proficiency (B2) to understand that usage of the same word.
Why don’t you try it?
Type in a word and see how many different CEFR levels you can find.