Benchmarking Diploma Programme language courses to the CEFR

Many universities accept scores for DP language courses as proof of language proficiency, others ask DP students for additional proof. A recent study aims to aid these institutions in determining language proficiency requirements for DP students without the need to require additional testing by examining how the level of English language competency of non-native English speakers compares to levels on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

The research by the National Recognition Information Centre for the UK provides universities with a useful benchmark to compare the level of English language competency of non-native English speakers, demonstrated by different IB Diploma Programme (DP) courses grades, to levels on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR). The CEFR is widely used in the development and referencing of language syllabi, qualifications, assessment and other learning materials. Most international universities around the world have English proficiency requirements, such as TOFEL and ILETS, for incoming international students, and this study provides a benchmark for higher education institutions globally, to assess international IB students’ English language acquisition without the need for additional testing.

The results show that DP English language courses develop all four key language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) with comprehensive assessment. All courses have at least one grade that can be considered comparable to CEFR B2, the level most commonly required by university admissions departments.

Equivalency table

For more information on this study or other IB research, please email research@ibo.org. If you have any questions about recognition, please email us at recognition@ibo.org. Click here for further information on the DP.

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