Common reference levels (in Dutch: ERK)
Many modern language methods for adults are based on the Common European Framework (in Dutch: Europees Referentiekader, ERK). The Volksuniversiteit Alkmaar language teachers work according to the ERK. The Common European Framework divides learners into three broad divisions that can be divided into six levels; for each level, it describes what a learner is supposed to be able to do in reading, listening, speaking and writing.
These levels are:
||A1 – Breakthrough or beginnerA2 – Waystage or elementary
||B1 – Threshold or intermediate
B2 – Vantage or upper intermediate
||Effective operational proficiency or advanced
||C1 – Effective operational proficiency or advanced
C2 – Mastery or proficiency
At the VU Alkmaar website the code (from A1 to C2) is added in brackets to the description of the course. During the open day the language teachers will advise you which level is most useful for you and which teaching books to purchase.
The following table presents the descriptions for each Common European Framework level:
- Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
- Can introduce themselves and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people they know and things they have.
- Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
- 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 their background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
- Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
- Can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
- Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
- Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
- Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization.
- Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
- 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.
- Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer clauses, and recognize implicit meaning.
- Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
- Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
- Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
- Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
- Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
- Can express themselves spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.
Read more about the ERK at International language standards.