Level scale

From beginner to pro

Wondering what your job applicants' or employees' true language levels are? The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) scale is a useful tool for this. 

ElaN Languages employs this standardised method of assessing a person's language skills. Plus we added our own level: A0, for absolute beginners with no knowledge whatsoever of the language in question. This gives us a fuller and more realistic picture of the situation. 

Learn about the different levels on this page. Or read our extensive explanation.

Do you have further questions about your job applicants' and employees' language levels?

Please feel free to contact us.


Basic user | Breakthrough

  • can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases;
  • can introduce him/herself and can ask and answer questions about simple personal details; 
  • can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help. 


Basic user | Waystage

  • can understand sentences and frequently used expressions about matters of immediate relevance (personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment); 
  • can communicate on a simple level about familiar and routine matters; 
  • can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and various needs.


Independent user | Threshold

  • can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters encountered at work; 
  • can deal with situations when travelling;
  • can write a simple text on familiar and personal topics; 
  • can describe experiences and events, hopes and ambitions. 


Independent | Vantage

  • can understand the main ideas of a complex text; 
  • reacts with a degree of spontaneity and fluency that makes interactions with native speakers possible without strain; 
  • can write a clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects;
  • can explain a viewpoint and give the advantages and disadvantages of various options. 


Proficient | Operational

  • can understand demanding, longer texts and recognise implicit meaning; 
  • can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without searching for expressions;
  • can use language flexibly and effectively; 
  • can produce clear, well-structured and detailed text on complex subjects. 


Proficient | Mastery

  • can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read; 
  • can summarise information from different spoken en written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation; 
  • can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning.