Benchmarking selected DP language courses to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (2016)

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The National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC)

UK NARIC was commissioned to undertake an independent comparative study of International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) English language courses and the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The purpose of the study was to establish how the level of English language competency expected at different DP course grades (1–7) compared to levels on the CEFR, and aid higher education institutions in determining language proficiency requirements for DP students without the need for additional testing. The methodology, drawing on the manual published by the Council of Europe, was designed to ensure a robust and transparent evaluation of the seven DP English language courses against the CEFR scales and sub-scales for reading comprehension, written production, and spoken interaction and production. The review involved an objective, desk-based review of the DP language guides, past papers, question types, associated markschemes and level descriptors, cross-referencing with individual assessments and grade boundaries over three to four exam sittings, as compared with CEFR. Overall, the study found DP English language courses to develop all four key language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) with sound assessment in place to assess students’ reading comprehension, written production, and speaking interaction and production skills. All DP courses have at least one grade that can be considered comparable to CEFR B2, the level most commonly required for admissions by universities. A full equivalency table is available in the research summary and full report.

Research summary (PDF, 6.9 MB)

Full report (PDF, 2 MB)