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   Relating language curricula, tests and examinations to the CEFR


CEFR Companion volume

The CEFR Companion volume broadens the scope of language education. It reflects academic and societal developments since the publication of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and updates the 2001 version. It owes much to the contributions of members of the language teaching profession across Europe and beyond.

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Enriching 21st century language education - The CEFR Companion volume in practice

This volume of case studies will interest all those who aim to develop language education in order to promote and support Europe’s rich linguistic and cultural diversity, thus fostering a culture of democracy and social justice in a time in which these values are increasingly under threat. This situation calls for a new vision of language education in which the development of mediation and plurilingual/pluricultural competence are crucial.

These case studies report on experience in a wide variety of contexts with the concepts and descriptors of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment - Companion volume (CEFR Companion volume), which broadens the vision of the CEFR 2001, enriching the CEFR model in the areas of plurilingualism and mediation.

The studies report on classroom practice and awareness-raising activities from all over Europe in secondary education, higher education, heritage language education, pre-service teacher education and adult education. The authors outline their experience in the language classroom and with stakeholders in relation to mediation, appreciation of literature, plurilingualism, online interaction and phonology.

The various chapters explore the relevance and usability of the new descriptors for the implementation of an action-oriented approach to language education, presenting the challenges and opportunities they encountered in the process, and the reactions of their students and colleagues.

The series of case studies published in this volume have been selected from over 30 that were carried out in the academic year 2018-19 as a follow-up to the conference “CEFR Companion Volume: Language Education for Dynamic and Inclusive Societies – Promoting Plurilingual and Pluricultural Education,” which was held in Strasbourg in May 2018 to introduce the CEFR Companion volume, published online in provisional form in English and French in February 2018.

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Relating language examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR) Highlights from the Manual)

This publication offers an introduction to linking examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in a valid way. The highlights are targeted at producers of language examinations, who are less familiar with psychometric procedures and who are not (yet) assessment experts.

The texts in the publication originate from the “Manual for linking examinations to the CEFR” (a publication of the Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe).

What is its added value?

  •  The publication assists in raising awareness of the linking process to stakeholders;
  • Raising awareness among practising and future teachers that claims of links to the CEFR need to be validated;
  • Teachers can also apply some of the procedures as outlined in the guide when developing their own classroom-based tests..

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1. The CEFR and the Manual

1.1. The aims of the Manual 
1.2. The context of the Manual

2. The linking process

2.1. Approach adopted 
2.2. Quality concerns 
2.3. Stages of the process 
2.4. Use of the CEFR 
2.5. Use of the Manual 

3. Familiarisation

3.1. Introduction 
3.2. Preparatory activities before the seminar 
3.3. Introductory activities at the seminar 
3.4. Qualitative analysis of the CEFR scales 
3.5. Preparation for rating

4. Specification

4.1. Introduction 
4.2. General description of the examination 
4.3. Available specification tools 
4.4. Procedures 
4.5. Making the claim: graphical profiling of the relationship of the
examination to the CEFR

5. Standardisation training and benchmarking

5.1. Introduction 
5.2. The need for training 
5.3. Advance planning 
5.4. Running the sessions 
5.5. Training with oral and written performances 
5.6. Training with tasks and items for reading, listening and linguistic
5.7. From training to benchmarking

6. Standard setting procedures

6.1. Introduction 
6.2. General considerations 
6.3. The Body of Work method: examinee centred 
6.4. The Tucker-Angoff method: test centred 
6.5. The Basket method: test centred 
6.6. The Bookmark method: test centred 
6.7. Standard setting across skills 
6.8. Standard setting and test equating 
6.9. Cross language standard setting 
6.10. Conclusion

7. Validation

7.1. Introduction 
7.2. Prerequisites: the quality of the examination 
7.3. Procedural validity of the standardisation training and standard setting 
7.4. Internal validity of the standard setting 
7.5. External validation 
7.6. Conclusion


Aligning Language Education with the CEFR: A Handbook

This resource has been prepared for those who are teaching, testing and developing materials in language education, as well as stakeholders concerned with education policy matters and decision-making.

Given the huge impact of the CEFR 2001 and the interest raised by the CEFR CV 2020, the editors expect that this first edition of the Handbook will soon be put to use in alignment projects by many different stakeholders in the field of language education. Those involved in such projects are invited to share not only their experience but also their views on the usefulness of the Handbook. There are plans to organize an event in early 2024 at which case studies in the use of the Handbook will be presented. The findings of such studies and other proposals from the field will be incorporated in a revised edition of the Handbook.

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The pedagogical guide on mediation competence

In December 2021, the RELANG national training workshop was organised in France at the initiative of the Directorate General of School Education (Dgesco) in partnership with the ECML. This guide retraces and summarises the entire training course and is intended to help inspectors, trainers and teachers to take up the knowledge shared during this training workshop in order to facilitate its implementation in the academies.

Appréhender et s’approprier le concept de médiation

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Manual for Language Test Development and Examining

Produced by ALTE on behalf of the Language Policy Division, Council of Europe. 2011

English version: 
Manual for Language Test Development and Examining

Version française:
Manuel pour l'élaboration et la passation de tests et d'examens de langue

Deutsche Version: 
Handbuch zur Entwicklung und Durchführung von Sprachtest

Useful links

ALTE - The Association of Language Testers in Europe
EALTA - European Association for Language Testing and Assessment


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

Download the CEFR here






This initiative is carried out within the framework of a cooperation agreement between the European Centre for Modern Languages and the European Commission, entitled
Innovative Methodologies and Assessment in language learning