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Constructing and validating language tests linked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

The Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is rapidly becoming a powerful instrument for shaping language education policies in Europe and beyond. The task of relating language policies, language curricula, teacher education and training, textbook and course design and content, examinations and certification systems to the CEFR is currently being undertaken by a growing number of public and private stakeholders in all of the Council of Europe member states. The European Qualifications Framework currently being implemented in all states members of the European Union is listing language skills among key competences of an educated citizen calling for the outcomes of language education to be properly linked to the reference scales of the CEFR. In this situation, it is important to ensure that tests, examinations and assessment procedures take full account of the relevant aspects of language use and language competences as set out in the CEFR, that they are conducted in accordance with internationally recognised principles of good practice and quality management, and that the procedures to relate these tests and examinations to the common reference levels (A1-C2) of the CEFR are carried out in a reliable and transparent manner.


To support relevant stakeholders in the member states in their effort to ensure quality and equity in language testing and assessment, to provide valid language tests and examinations – in terms of their content and function, and their claims of links to the CEFR – and in their effort to implement, where applicable, the European qualifications frameworks.

Target groups

• teachers and teacher trainers;
• language testers and examiners, item writers;
• curriculum developers;
• language inspectors;
• policy-makers, decision-takers.

Envisaged result and impact of the ECML training and consultancy

The immediate result/benefit will be that the participating education professionals are supported in their effort to ensure validity and equity in language tests and examinations, in terms of their content, of their function and of their claims of links to the CEFR. 

The impact/long term-benefit will be that language examinations used in the participating member states ensure that learners are assessed in valid and equitable ways and that learners’ test performances are expressed in terms of CEFR levels that are valid, understood and widely accepted.

LEADING TO: Enhanced quality in foreign language testing and examining.


José Noijons (coordinator), Cito, Netherlands;

Jana Berešová, Trnava University, Slovak Republic;

Gilles Breton, Ministry of Education, France;

Gábor Szabó, University of Pécs, Hungary