Michigan Language Assessment exams are aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), published by the Council of Europe. The CEFR provides a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabi, examinations, and textbooks.

Many educators find the CEFR useful in that it describes, in a comprehensive way, what language learners have to learn to do in order to use a language effectively for communication.

The CEFR describes language ability on a scale of levels from A1 for beginners up to C2 for those who have mastered a language. This makes it easy for anyone involved in language teaching and testing (learners, teachers, teacher trainers, etc.) to see the level of different qualifications. It also means that employers and educational institutions can easily compare qualifications and see how they relate to exams they already know in their own country.

CEFR Levels

Level Description
  • 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 meaning even in more complex situations
Effective Operational Proficiency
  • 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 texts on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors, and cohesive devices
  • Can understand the main idea of complex texts on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization
  • Can interact with native speakers quite possibly without strain for either party
  • Can produce clear, detailed texts on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options
  • 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 traveling 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
  • 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, and 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 need
  • 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