ASCERTAINING YOUR LANGUAGE LEVEL: A1-C2

The ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe) “Can Do” project developed a simplified set of 400+ descriptors for language examinations which relate to the Common Reference Levels. These descriptors are in the form of “can-do statements”, each saying more simply what a learner can do at every level. There are four sections: general, social/ tourist, work and study. The ALTE project also gave its own names to the CEFR levels from the “Breakthrough level” to “Level 5”.

The Language Center follows the Common Reference levels (mainly for general and business) basing its courses on them. Generally, we will advise you to join a course at the appropriate level.

Business and General "Can Do" statements (ALTE/CEFR) English as a example

A1 (Breakthrough)

GENERAL

  • 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

BUSINESS

  • CAN understand and pass on simple instructions and messages in English, e.g.. “Meet on Friday at 10.00 a.m”.
  • CAN understand a short report on a familiar subject in English, provided that it is in simple English and the content can be guessed.
  • CAN write a simple enquiry in English to a colleague such as Kollegen “Can I have 20 …. ?

A2 (Waystage)

GENERAL

  • 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.

BUSINESS

  • CAN express simple wishes within his/her own field of work, e.g. “I would like to order 25….. “.
  • CAN understand most short reports or instruction manuals in English which refer to his/her own field of work provided enough time is given for the task.
  • CAN write a short enquiry to a colleague or a known external business partner in English.

ALTE now establishes a six-level framework of language examination standards.

The following table compares the ALTE levels with the CEFR levels and EFL exams:

ALTE level CEFR level ESOL exam IELTS exam TOEIC[1] TOEFL[2]
Level 5 C2 CPE 7.5+
Level 4 C1 CAE 6.5–7 945+ 110+
Level 3 B2 FCE 5–6 785+ 87+
Level 2 B1 PET 3.5–4.5 550+ 57+
Level 1 A2 KET 3 225+
Breakthrough A1 1–2 120+