How we measure the level of English language understanding of our students.

Overall NICE Level Descriptions

The NICE curriculum is mapped to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). CEFR was created by the Council of Europe to provide “a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe” (2001), and it has been used as a planning tool among various language programs in order to further promote transparency and coherence in language education. At NICE, we have adapted its level descriptions to match common language activities that our students need to engage in and specific contexts that they often have to be able to deal with.

CEFR has a total of six levels from A1 to C2. At NICE, there are five corresponding levels offered for our students, from A1 to C1.

The table below covers two main dimensions: a vertical and a horizontal one. The vertical one illustrates all the levels offered at NICE as well as progression through the levels. The horizontal one further illustrates different contexts of learning and teaching. In other words, it indicates different language activities and competencies, i.e., what students can do with the target language, across the levels. These descriptions are used to guide course goals, objectives, and student learning outcomes in each curriculum area (i.e., Grammar, Listening, Oral Production, and Integrated Skills).

Proficient User

Advanced (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.

Independent User

High Intermediate (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 disadvantages of various options.

High Intermediate (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 & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Basic User

High Basic (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 need.

Basic (A)
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.