CEFR and ACTFL Language Proficiency Standards

The two major frameworks for teaching, learning and assessing foreign language proficiency are the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for languages used with the European Language Portfolio (ELP) and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines. Both are used for testing and certification as well as in textbooks, language teacher training, curriculum development and development of assessment standards. While little empirical research is available to compare the two systems, an approximate correspondence can be established. Note that the ACTFL system divides the skills into receptive (reading and listening) and productive (speaking and writing), with the expectation of different proficiency levels in those skills. The table shows a comparison of the CEFR global descriptors and ACTFL proficiency levels. For both systems, language proficiency is emphasized over mastery of textbook grammar and spelling.

 

This chart represents an approximate comparison between the CEFR and ACTFL language proficiency levels. For more information, see the following resources:








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