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The Intensive English Program has aligned its curriculum to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). The CEFR offers us the ability to talk about language proficiency within a framework that is used globally. While the CEFR is most commonly used in Europe, many other countries, universities, and programs align their curriculum to the CEFR. In many parts of the world, if you were to tell someone that your English is a “B2”, they would understand exactly what that means! (More on what a B2 is below –keep reading!)

The CEFR offers a scale that includes levels and detailed descriptors about each level. Language proficiency ranges from A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. The European Council says that an A-level (A1 or A2) proficiency is a “basic user” level; B-level (B1 or B2) is an “independent user”; and C-level (C1 or C2) is a “proficient user” (Council of Europe, 2019). For reference, someone who knows just a few words or expressions in another language might be an A1, while many students who will study in college or university would be expected to be at a C1 or C2.

VIU has aligned its curriculum to the CEFR. Below is a table that shows how our courses correspond to the CEFR scale:

VIU Course VIU Proficiency CEFR Scale
200 Low Beginner A1
300 Beginner A2
400 Elementary A2+
500 Low Intermediate B1
600 Intermediate B1+
700 High Intermediate B2
800 Advanced B2+
Degree program Degree C1

Upon completion of level 800, students should be at a B2+ or C1 level.


If you want to explore more about the CEFR and how it was created, access the European Council’s CEFR page here: https://www.coe.int/en/web/language-policy/cefr

If you want to read more about what you should be able to do (globally) at individual proficiency bands, see this page: https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=090000168045bc7b

To take a self-assessment of your own proficiency (in English or another language), access a self-assessment tool here: https://www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-framework-reference-languages/table-2-cefr-3.3-common-reference-levels-self-assessment-grid


Council of Europe (2019). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR): Common Reference Levels. Strasbourg Cedex, France: Council of Europe. Retrieved https://www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-framework-reference-languages/table-1-cefr-3.3-common-reference-levels-global-scale