HOW MANY LEVELS OF SPANISH ARE THERE?
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (abbreviated CEFR) was developed by the Council of Europe to establish standards for measuring a language learner’s proficiency. The CEFR has become the measurement scale most widely and commonly used around the world by language teachers and learners.
The CEFR scale has three broad divisions, and within each division are two levels. For each level it describes how well a language learner should be able to speak, write, listen, and read (i.e., the 4 ways we use a language). Here is the CEFR scale:
Division A – Basic User
Level A1 – Beginner
Level A2 – Elementary
Division B – Independent User
Level B1 – Intermediate
Level B2 – Upper Intermediate
Division C – Proficient User
Level C1 – Advanced
Level C2 – Mastery
The DELE is an official diploma issued by the Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science to participants who have passed a standardized test indicating their Spanish language proficiency, and DELE examinations have been designed following the guidelines of the CEFR. (The letters DELE stand for Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera, which in English is translated “Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language”). The DELE exam is taken in 900 certified examination centers in more than 100 countries around the world.
At this LINK you will find a chart that compares the DELE exam levels with various English language tests.
ONLINE SPANISH TESTS
I have taken several online Spanish tests, and below is a list of some of the best I have found. Some of them will give you a test result according to the CEFR scale. Also, I cannot vouch for any of these sites, so proceed at your own risk.
- Lengalia.com, www.lengalia.com/en/placement-test-spanish.html
- Instituto Cervantes, http://ave.cervantes.es/prueba_nivel/registro/test_de_clasificacion.php?origen=WebDELE
- Oxford University Language Center, www.lang.ox.ac.uk/courses/tst_placement_spanish.html
- Education First, click Spanish Test: www.ef.edu/test/#/
- Spanish Unlimited, www.spanishunlimited.com/su/spanish-test
- Institute of Modern Spanish (Merida, Yucatan, Mexico), www.modernspanish.com/onlinetest.html
- Isla, www.learningspanish-spain.com/spanish-test-online.html
- NetLearn Languages, www.nll.co.uk/test/spanish.shtml
- Escuela de Idiomas (Nerja, Spain), www.idnerja.com/spanish-level-test.aspx
- ESL Education, www.esl-languages.com/en/study-abroad/online-tests/spanish-test/index.htm
DETAILED DESCRIPTION FOR EACH SPANISH LANGUAGE LEVEL
Spanish level A1 – 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.
Spanish level A2 – 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 Basic need.
Spanish level B1 – 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 whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which 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.
Spanish level B2 – Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her 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 Independent disadvantages of various options.
Spanish level C1 – Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. Can express him/herself 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.
Spanish level C2 – 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 him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of Proficient meaning even in more complex situations.