In a multicultural Europe, with its diverse languages and institutions, it is essential to have language qualifications that are recognised by all.
The CEFR aims to provide a common basis from which to enable mutual recognition of qualifications, standardise language syllabuses, create curriculum guidelines, etc. It seeks both to promote mobility and to overcome communication barriers among professionals working in the field of modern languages.
A key tool in the context of the CEFR is the European Language Portfolio (ELP). Based on a clear system for measuring one’s progress, the ELP enables people studying a language to record their learning and cultural experiences. The document can be regularly updated and language competences can be described and noted according to pan-European criteria. The document, in the form of a “passport”, is particularly useful when changing schools, meeting a career adviser or applying for a job. It also includes guidelines on how to get the most out of language learning and on the resources that are available.
The EU supports efforts to establish common levels of language proficiency and common standards for language testing. It has also funded projects for the exchange of ideas and experience in this field.
The EU has provided funding to help set up the Association for Language Testing and Assessment (EALTA) a professional association of language testers that independently represents those involved in language examinations and assessment. EALTA aims to promote the understanding of theoretical principles of language testing and assessment, and the improvement and sharing of testing and assessment practices throughout Europe.
The Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) is an association of institutions from across Europe, all of whom are involved with examinations and certification for language learners. The primary goals of ALTE are to establish common levels of proficiency in order to promote the trans-national recognition of certification in Europe and to establish common standards for all stages of the language testing process.