Comparison of Language Certificates and Classification in the CEFR

Comparison of Language Certificates and Classification in the CEFR

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and the Classification of Language Certificates

The Internationalisation Council of TU Braunschweig adopted "Recommendations on Language Policy at TU Braunschweig" in a resolution dated November 23, 2016.

This paper describes, among other things, the language policy of TU Braunschweig with regard to the expected language skills of international and German students for access to Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes and their qualification (mostly in English or German as a Foreign Language) on completion of the respective degree programme.

In the following document, a brief overview of a) the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and b) the comparability of certificates will be provided, thus serving as a supplement to the "Recommendations on Language Policy at TU Braunschweig".

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR):

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages provides a common basis for the development of target language curricula, examinations, textbooks, etc. throughout Europe.

It comprehensively describes what knowledge and skills learners need to develop in order to be able to communicate successfully. The description also covers the cultural context in which language is embedded.

The Framework defines levels of competence so that learning progress can be measured throughout life and at every stage of the learning process. For language learners in Europe, a framework of six broad levels defines the relevant scope of learning on each level.

Global scale

Competent use of language

C2 Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.
C1 Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

Independent use of language

B2 Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
B1 Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Basic language use

A2 Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. 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 describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
A1 Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

On the comparability of the language certificates:

Only language certificates that test and certify all four skills (speaking, writing, listening, reading) have been included in this list:

The certificates should not be more than two years old at the time of recognition, as language skills can change.


All languages

German as a Foreign Language