The CEFR is language-neutral and operates across many different languages. To ensure that it can be fully adapted to local contexts and purposes, the Council of Europe has encouraged the production of Reference Level Descriptions (RLDs) for national and regional languages. RLDs provide detailed, language-specific guidance for users of the CEFR.

The English Profile Programme has taken charge of this development for English. However, while the Council of Europe guidelines and the existing work of the T-series (Breakthrough, Waystage, Threshold, Vantage) take a 'horizontal' approach, focusing on each level separately, English Profile follows a 'vertical' approach: it concentrates on the description of linguistic ability in specific areas of the English language (vocabulary, grammar, language functions, etc.) across all six CEFR levels, using empirical data from learner corpora and curricula to inform its research findings.

The listing of vocabulary by level and category in the English Vocabulary Profile and the Can Do statements in the English Grammar Profile are two outcomes of the English Profile Programme’s development of RLDs. Two other EPP initiatives have been published in book form within the English Profile Studies series and are relevant to the development of RLDs : Volume 1, Criterial Features in L2 English by Filipovic and Hawkins, discusses the distinguishing features of each CEFR level for English and Volume 2, Language Functions Revisited by Green reviews language construct definition across the ability range.

RLDs for other languages under development

Learning specifications - for the Threshold and/or other levels - have been produced or updated for over 20 languages, including Basque, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovene, Spanish and Welsh.

Further details of other profiling projects can be found on the Council of Europe's website.

Cambridge logo