La présente communication fait suite au Conseil européen de Barcelone de mars 2002, qui avait demandé la mise au point d'un indicateur des compétences linguistiques. L'objectif final est de fournir aux États membres des informations et comparaisons sur la base desquels ils pourront procéder aux ajustements nécessaires à leur politique d'enseignement et d'apprentissage des langues étrangères. La présente communication propose des paramètres et des modalités de gestion pour mettre en œuvre l'indicateur.
Langues et formats disponibles
The integration and education of children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds are among the most urgent challenges facing many member states of the Council of Europe from the point of view of social cohesion and inclusion. As stressed in the Council of Europe’s White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue, integration is a two-way process.
The project conducted by the Language Policy Unit on “Languages in education / Languages for education” considers these challenges to be cross-disciplinary. In order to meet them effectively, all the curricula and the varieties of linguistic and communicative competences that learners are expected to acquire in these curricula must be taken into account. More...
An increasing number of countries now require adult migrants to demonstrate proficiency in the language of the host country before granting entry, residence or work permits or citizenship. Language training is often available although the conditions vary. The level of proficiency required is usually based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and a language test may be obligatory. The approach to testing varies and there is a considerable difference in the levels of proficiency required – ranging from A1 to B1 or even B2 (oral) of the CEFR.
The Language Policy Unit, in partnership with appropriate Council of Europe sectors and INGOs with participatory status is developing policy guidelines and tools for language education and certification where this is required. The aim is to support all directly concerned in developing a needs-based approach and in following best professional practice so as to ensure transparency, quality and fairness, in particular concerning ‘high-stake’ situations concerning language requirements for citizenship, work or long term residency purposes.
Dedicated website: www.coe.int/lang-migrants. More...
The English Profile programme is a collaborative research programme using corpus data and other tools to produce detailed RLDs for English.
Vocabulary RLDs for levels A1 to B2: The English Profile Wordlists, available in 2011, will provide a complete searchable listing of the words and phrases in English that are considered to be within these levels. They will offer reliable information at word and sense level, based on extensive analysis of word frequency and learner use, using the Cambridge International Corpus, the British National Corpus, the Cambridge Learner Corpus, together with other sources, including the Cambridge ESOL vocabulary lists and classroom materials.
Other researchers are focusing on the development of RLDs in the areas of grammar and language functions, using empirical data from corpora and curricula to describe learning goals.
English Profile is also developing the Cambridge English Profile Corpus, which will include essays, coursework and spoken data, collected from participating teachers' real or virtual classrooms.
Former specifications available online:
- Breakthrough specification (unpublished)
- Waystage 1990 (CUP)
- Threshold Level 1990 (CUP)
- Vantage (CUP)
A French and international team was mandated to establish reference descriptions for French. Le Niveau B2 was published in 2004 and Le Niveau A1 in 2006 (éditions Didier ). A reference description for the first acquisitions in French (below A1) was published in 2005 by éditions Didier ((Niveau A1.1 pour le français - Référentiel et certification (DILF) pour les premiers acquis en français).
Each of these works comprises an audio CD presenting the oral implementations of the functions.
Planned: a specification of levels A2 and B1 as well as a website in order to place the first four levels on line (A1 to B2). This project is being conducted in co-operation with the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP– International Educational Research Centre) and the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (AIF –“Intergovernmental agency of the French-speaking world”). More...
The Language Policy Unit has developed a Guide for the production of RLDs aimed at assisting teams in developing an RLD for a national or regional language. It contains a series of examples that will be supplemented as further RLDs are finalised. A questionnaire is provided to enable teams to report on their work during the development of their reference level and to submit it in due course to the Council of Europe.
A seminar was held in Strasbourg in December 2005 for teams reporting on RDLs that have been finalised, are currently being developed, or are planned. Seventeen languages were represented. The seminar examined various approaches to designing RLDs as well as components (refer to see the Agenda of the seminar). More...
- because the description of each level for each language emanates from the same document: the CEFR;
- because, together with the CEFR, the Manual for relating language examinations to the levels of the CEFR) and the videos/CD-Roms giving samples of levels for the setting of certification tests), these descriptions are one of the anchor points proposed by the Council of Europe’s Language Policy Unit for the development of language programmes that are consistent with one another, from one language to another and also with the common tools which already exist;
- because their convergence alone can give them credibility and make it worth people’s while to use them. It is unrealistic to imagine that the development of these reference descriptions, which select and distribute a certain verbal material by level of competence, can be based solely on “scientific” procedures: their audience will also depend on the consensus they are able to generate among the professionals concerned, especially as the Framework leaves decision makers the responsibility of specifying the morpho-syntactic material (See user box on page 115 in the English edition (CUP) of the CEFR).
Similarly to and following on from the threshold level, these CEFR level description by language are intended to provide extra legitimacy for languages which need to demonstrate that they can be taught and that their teaching can be defined in clear technical terms. More...
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR): an instrument for plurilingual education
Launched in 2001, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages marked a major turning point in describing specifications of language-learning targets; they were no longer designated as ‘threshold” or “Vantage level” etc, but by the appropriate level of the CEFR scale (A1 to C2).
The CEFR has been disseminated far and wide and has been translated into approximately 40 languages. It has now become a common reference instrument for organising language teaching and certification in many member States (see section on CEFR)
The CEFR is based on all these achievements and has developed a description of the process of mastering an unknown language by type of competence and sub-competence, using descriptors for each competence or sub-competence, on which we shall not go into further detail here. These descriptors were created without reference to any specific language, which guarantees their relevance and across-the-board applicability. The descriptors specify progressive mastery of each skill, which is graded on a six-level scale (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). However, for operators, textbook authors and teachers, the specification set out in the CEFR may appear excessively broad. Work began on drafting CEFRspecificationslanguage by language. This new generation of reference level descriptions (in groups of six) is based on the CEFRlevel descriptors: it is a case of identifying the forms of a given language (words, grammar, etc), mastery of which corresponds to the communicational, socio-linguistic, formal and other competences defined by the CEFR. These transpositions of the CEFR into a given language are known as Reference Level Descriptions (RLDs) for national and regional languages. More...
In order to meet the teaching and certification requirements, the level concept as defined was extended to cover specification of levels lying immediately below and above the threshold level. In the light of the developments in this field, particularly as regards the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), some of which emerged at around the same time as the latter, other levels were formulated for a number of languages, paying particular attention, for instance, to socio-cultural components or learner autonomy, by pinpointing a possible definition for the concept of “learning to learn”. A lower level (Waystage) was created for English, as was a level situated above the threshold, also starting with English (Vantage Level). Other language versions then followed. The three ascending level descriptions (Waystage, Threshold and Vantage) provided a basis for designing programmes and producing multimedia courses and were developed in parallel with the CEFR. These proficiency levels constitute one of the origins of the six-level scale of the CEFR.
Learning target specifications (for the threshold and/or other levels) have been produced or updated for Basque, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovene, Spanish, and Welsh (see List of Publications). Plus...
The first specification of this “threshold level” was formulated for the English language (Threshold level, 1975), quickly followed by French (Un Niveau Seuil, 1976). These two instruments have been used de facto as models for the same type of reference instruments that were produced subsequently for other languages, but they were adapted to suit the peculiar features of each language. These threshold levels have also gradually changed, and they still play a major role in language teaching, often serving as the basis for new national teaching programmes. They help make the textbooks more motivating and facilitate development of more realistic and transparent evaluation systems.
· Compilation of Introductions and Prefaces to the series of level descriptions
A Compilation of Introductions and Prefaces to the series of level descriptions developed over a period of 30 years (1975 to 2005) provides an insight into how this tool has been developed and has been adapted for individual languages. Plus...
Some of the instruments produced within the Council of Europe have played a decisive role in the teaching of so-called “foreign” languages by promoting methodological innovations and new approaches to designing teaching programmes. They have facilitated a fresh approach to communicating these teaching methods in a manner potentially more conducive to operational appropriation of unknown languages and therefore to “freedom of movement of persons and ideas”. Accordingly, from around the mid-1970s onwards, specialists worked out an operational model for abilities which specific groups of learners (tourists, businesspersons, migrants, etc) require for using a language for independent communication in a country in which this language is the everyday medium for communication. By thus identifying these groups’ language needs they were able to pinpoint the knowledge and know-how required for attaining this communication “threshold”.
· The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR): an instrument for plurilingual education
· Reference Level Descriptions (RLDs) for national and regional languages
· Relationship between Council of Europe reference instruments for language teaching/learning
List of Reference Level Descriptions (finalised or currently being developed)
Compilation of Introductions and Prefaces to the series of level descriptions