Spanish Language Levels and Language Proficiency

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spanish levels
  • Patricia Doval
  • 13 Feb, 2024
  • 4 Mins Read

Spanish language levels are classified into six levels determined by the worldwide recognized CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).  These six different language levels are designated A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2.

Different organizations determine language proficiency levels to help you learn your Spanish level. The CEFR guideline defines the most widely used language proficiency levels in Europe. 

CEFR is a guide to promote language learning in Europe and other countries. Its primary purpose is to measure Language proficiency and provide assessments.

What are the CEFR Spanish Language Levels?

CEFR is a guide to promote language learning in Europe and other countries. Its primary purpose is to measure Language proficiency and provide assessments.

A1 Spanish Level – Beginner Level

A1 learners can understand simple, everyday expressions and engage in basic conversations. Can communicate simply, provided the other person speaks slowly and clearly and is ready to help.

A2 Spanish Level – Intermediate Level

A2 learners are slightly more proficient and can understand and produce more complex sentences and phrases. Can communicate in simple and routine tasks that require a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine topics. They can describe their background, immediate environment, and issues in areas of immediate need.

B1 Spanish Level – Upper-Intermediate Level

At the B1 level, learners can confidently navigate Spanish-speaking countries, hold conversations, and understand primary texts. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, and ambitions, and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

B2 Spanish Level-  Advanced Level

B2 learners are more proficient and can understand complex texts, engage in extended conversations, and express themselves fluently on various topics. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a point of view on a topical issue by giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

C1 Spanish Level

At the C1 level, learners can speak fluently and express themselves effectively in various contexts. They can understand complex texts, engage in detailed discussions, and handle nuanced language.

C2 Spanish Level

C2 learners master the language and can understand and produce language with near-native fluency.

How can I measure my Spanish Language Level?

There are several options for measuring your Spanish language level:

  1. Language Assessments: Take online language assessments designed to evaluate your proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. These assessments often provide a detailed analysis of your strengths and areas for improvement.
  2. Official Exams: Consider taking official language exams such as the DELE (Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language) or the SIELE (International Spanish Language Evaluation Service). These exams are internationally recognized and can officially certify your language proficiency.
  3. Self-Assessment: Reflect on your abilities in various language skills and compare them to the descriptions and criteria of the proficiency levels.

How can I improve my Spanish Language Level?

Once you determine your current Spanish language proficiency level, the next step is to improve your language level and continue your language learning journey. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Immersion: Immerse yourself in the Spanish language as much as possible. Surround yourself with authentic Spanish resources such as books, movies, music, and podcasts. 
  2. Formal Instruction: Consider enrolling in a Spanish language course or working with a language tutor. 
  3. Practice Writing: Regularly practice writing in Spanish to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure.
  4. Cultural Immersion: Immerse yourself in Spanish-speaking cultures by traveling to Spanish-speaking countries or participating in cultural events.

How many levels of Spanish are there?

According to the CEFR scale, there are six Spanish proficiency levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.

What level of Spanish is fluent?

Fluency is the most perfect form of the ability to speak a language. To speak Spanish fluently, you must be at level C1-C2 on the CEFR scale.

Some organizations determine language proficiency levels locally.

Organizations that determine language proficiency levels in the USA ACTFL(American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages)  and ILR scale(Interagency Language Roundtable Scale)

What is the ACTFL?

ACTFL(American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) was founded to promote foreign language learning in the United States. Its primary purpose is to determine the proficiency of the language level. The ACTFL proficiency scale consists of five levels: novice, intermediate, advanced, superior, and distinguished. Each level is divided into three sublevels: low, medium, and high.

What are ACTFL Spanish Proficiency Levels?

ACTFL Proficiency Levels are listed below;

  • Novice Level: At the novice level, learners need more proficiency in the language. They can understand and produce simple phrases and expressions related to everyday topics.
  • Intermediate Level: Intermediate-level learners have a better command of the language and can engage in more complex conversations.
  • Advanced Level: Advanced learners have a broad vocabulary and use the language with fluency and accuracy.
  • Superior Level: At the superior level, learners have a near-native command of the language.
  • Distinguished Level: The outstanding level represents the highest level of language proficiency.

What is the ILR Scale?

The ILR Scale(Interagency Language Roundtable Scale) measures language ability in all four communication skills — listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The ILR scale provides the measurement of communication skills in a language. It is widely used in the United States. Grades Language Proficiency from 0-5.

What are ILR Scale Spanish Proficiency Levels?

  • Level 0: No Proficiency
    Level 0 indicates no knowledge or understanding of the Spanish language.
  • Level 2: Limited Working Proficiency
    Learners at level 2 can handle basic commands and engage in limited casual conversations.
  • Level 1: Elementary Proficiency
    They can ask and answer basic questions and engage in short conversations. However, their language skills are limited.

  • Level 3: Professional Working Proficiency
    Learners at this level can participate in meetings, converse with clients or customers, and express themselves fluently and confidently.

  • Level 4: Full Professional Proficiency
    At level 4, learners have advanced language skills and can discuss various topics.

  • Level 5: Native/Bilingual Proficiency
    Level 5 represents native or bilingual proficiency. Learners at this level have either been raised speaking the language or have attained a level of fluency equivalent to a Spanish speaker.
Patricia Doval

Patricia Doval is a Spanish linguist at She holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Western Ontario, specializing in language contact. She's a bilingual Spanish-English. She has a master's in Spanish grammar and is responsible for our grammar-related articles.

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