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CEFR Journal - Research and Practice


Volume: CEFR Journal - Research and Practice Volume 3 (
Date: October 20, 2020
Title: Learner perspectives: familiarization, knowledge, and perceptions of the CEFR
Page: 44 - 58
Author: Gary Cook (Hiroshima Bunkyo University) & Yukari Rutson-Griffiths (Hiroshima Bunkyo University)
This article is open access and licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.
Abstract: Since 2012, various aspects of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) have been utilized in language curricula at Hiroshima Bunkyo University’s language learning center: the Bunkyo English Communication Center (BECC). Whilst teacher training regarding the CEFR had taken place, students had not received any direct CEFR-education. A decision was taken in 2017 to involve one cohort of students from the Global Communication Department in activities over three years to a) determine their ability to sort Can Do descriptors into their respective levels on the self-assessment grid (A1-C2), and b) establish their knowledge and perceptions of the CEFR through questionnaires. The sorting activity, termed the CEFR shuffle in this paper, was also intended to raise students’ awareness of the CEFR. Results of this research comparing two groups of students streamed into low (A1-A2) and high (A2-B1) classes show that 1) their ability to correctly sort descriptors as a cohort showed no change over a period of 2 years, 2) the high class performed better than the low class in terms of making fewer sorting mistakes in the first and third years of the study but these results were not found to be statistically significant, and 3) students’ knowledge of the CEFR improved slightly while perceptions received mixed results. Further results are discussed and suggestions made for the improvement of this study in future editions.

Keywords: Awareness, Self-assessment, Curriculum, Training, Knowledge, Perceptions, CEFR, Can Do descriptors
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(Last update March 6th, 2023 MGS)

This online toolkit is supported by KAKEN Grant-in-Aid project no. 20K00759, no. 19K00808 and no. 16K02835 and aims to support teachers of all foreign languages in Japan in using the CEFR and CEFR/CV efficiently.