Benchmarking DP and CP language courses to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages


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A recent study commissioned by the IB aims to assist universities in determining the language proficiencies of Diploma Programme (DP) and Career-related Programme (CP) students without the need for additional testing.

While many universities accept IB language courses grades as proof of language proficiency, some require additional assessments from IB students. The study, conducted by Ecctis, examined how grades in selected IB language courses compare to levels on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The CEFR is widely used in the development and referencing of language syllabus qualifications, assessment and other learning materials.

The findings indicate that DP language courses are comparable to CEFR B2, the level most commonly required by universities. The research therefore provides universities valuable benchmarks for comparing IB student grades against CEFR proficiency levels in Language A and Language B courses in English, French, German and Spanish.

The Diploma Programme is a recognized and respected two-year programme that prepares students aged 16 to 19 to become lifelong learners, open-minded and compassionate. The DP curriculum is made up of six subjects and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay.  

The Career-related Programme, for students aged 16 to 19, is an innovative blend of academic study and career-related skills that prepares students to launch directly into a career or excel in further study. The CP is the best of both worlds – it combines a quality academic foundation with real hands-on career experience.   

Additional comparisons with other qualifications and language proficiency tests have been benchmarked to levels of the CEFR scale. View additional comparisons.  

Read more about the study.