Estonia to offer free C1 English exams to 12th graders

C1 English exams are on track to replace Estonian state English exams.
C1 English exams are on track to replace Estonian state English exams. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Beginning this autumn, the state will begin offering 12th graders in Estonian upper secondary schools the opportunity to take C1 level English exams for free, in lieu of state English exams, which only prove proficiency at the B2 level.

English is currently the most popular foreign language for students in Estonia, with over 123,000 pupils at general education schools studying English during the current school year.

A state English exam is taken by hundreds of thousands of students each year, but hundreds more choose to take the C1 proficiency level exam for a fee instead, spokespeople for the Ministry of Education and Research said. A passing score on the state English exam equates to proficiency in English at the B2 level.

The state, however, wants to introduce the opportunity to take the internationally recognized English language proficiency exam at the highest level to all senior-year upper secondary school students, as well as to all those who for for one reason or another have previously been unable to take the exam.

Pilot testing will begin early next month, and as soon as this autumn, all students with an excellent command of English will be able to take the international exam at the C1 level.

According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, or CEFR, B2 equates to a vantage or upper intermediate level of language proficiency, while C1 equates to effective operational or advanced proficiency.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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