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ERIC Number: EJ1121278
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Aug
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2191-611X
B1 and B1: Analysing and Comparing High-Stakes Certification Linked to the CEFR
Kies, Marylin
Language Learning in Higher Education, v1 n1 p41-59 Aug 2012
Communication and transparency are fundamental ideals underlying the "Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference for Languages" (CEFR; Council of Europe 2001). The CEFR has facilitated communication immensely, as teachers, students, publishers, policy makers and examination boards all now make reference to the CEFR levels. Transparency has advanced more slowly, at least as regards high-stakes language certification. Test users tend to presume that exams pegged to the same CEFR level are "in some way equivalent" or at "exactly the same level" (Council of Europe 2009: 4) although this is not necessarily so. Test users must be put in the position to make informed choices. As students and aspiring employees normally choose the certification exams recognised or required by institutions and employers, these latter need to set their policies wisely. This study suggests how institutional and professional test users may analyse certification exams linked to the CEFR using three sets of criteria: the CEFR scales and descriptors, the Council of Europe's (2009) "Manual for relating language examinations to the CEFR" and the socio-cognitive validity framework presented in Weir's (2005) "Language Testing and Validation." To illustrate the application of these frameworks, two four-skills B1 certification exams in English are analysed: Cambridge ESOL's Preliminary English Test and Trinity College London's Integrated Skills Exam 1. The observed differences highlight the need to empower users to make informed choices.
De Gruyter Mouton. Available from: Walter de Gruyter, Inc. 121 High Street, Third Floor, Boston, MA 02110. Tel: 857-284-7073; Fax: 857-284-7358; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Europe
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A