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European Centre for Modern Languages


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..

 Download the book here


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


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 (