In order to harmonise foreign language proficiency levels, the Council of Europe developed CEFR – Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
The scale has six levels in three groups:
basic users: A1 and A2;
independent user: B1 and B2;
proficient user: C1 and C2.
Description of skills and indyvidual levels:
Basic users. Persons speaking the language at this level can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases related to specific needs of day-to-day life. They ask and answer questions about personal details such as where they live, people they know and things they have. They can introduce themselves and others. They can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Persons speaking the language at this level 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). They can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. They can describe in simple terms aspects of their background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Independent users. Persons speaking the language at this level can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. They can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. They can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. They can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
Persons speaking the language at this level can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialisation. They can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. They can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
Proficient users. Persons speaking the language at this level can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. They can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. They can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. They can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
Persons speaking the language at this level can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. They can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. They can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.