The CEFR describes language ability in six levels, from beginners to proficient (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2). It outlines an international standard for language learning, and is used in language schools all over the world—for all languages, not just Spanish!
So if the world agrees on language levels, then it's possible to make exams that are recognised all over. In the case of Spanish, the Diploma of Spanish as a Second Language, or DELE qualification (Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera) is recognised all over the Spanish speaking world.
If you're interested, the 254 page CEFR document is long and extremely detailed, but it's a good read for those interested in the intricacies of language learning!
The six CEFR levels (see below to match with El Patio levels)
|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.|
|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.|
|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 and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.|
|Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. 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.|
|C1—Effective Operational Proficiency (Dominio operativo eficaz)|
|Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise 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 organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.|
|Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.|
These are for internationally recognised Spanish proficiency qualifications for non-native Spanish speakers. They're offered by the Spanish Ministery of Education and Culture, through the Instituto Cervantes. Skills examined are reading, written and aural comprehension, grammar and vocabulary, and oral expression. In Melbourne the exams are held each May and November. Here are links to information about the six levels:
All of the texts used at El Patio are directed towards these exams, although you normally need to do extra study to prepare due to the format of the exam (quite apart from your Spanish!). To register for a DELE exam you need to apply through the Instituto Cervantes in Sydney.
|Level||El Patio levels|
|A1||Upper Elementary 3|
|A2||Lower Intermediate levels|
|B1||Upper Intermediate levels|