Setting Performance Standards in Europe

The Judges’ Contribution to Relating Language Examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference

by Spiros Papageorgiou (Author)
©2010 Monographs XII, 240 Pages
Series: Language Testing and Evaluation, Volume 16


This publication was awarded the Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award in 2009.
Since its publication in 2001, the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) has been the most frequently-cited performance standard in language testing in Europe. To help test providers and users with score interpretation in relation to the CEFR levels, the Council of Europe published the ‘Manual for relating language examinations to the CEFR’. Even though the linking process set out in the Manual is primarily based on judgements by trained participants, judgement-making in this context remains largely unexplored. The research presented in this book addresses this issue by employing quantitative and qualitative methods. Despite the judges’ good understanding of how language ability progresses from lower to higher CEFR levels, it was found that describing test content and examinee performance was not without problems and decision-making was affected by a number of factors that were irrelevant to the judgement task. The results provide a better understanding of judgement-making during the CEFR linking process, which has important implications for examination providers and users of CEFR-aligned test scores.


XII, 240
ISBN (Hardcover)
Language Testing Verbal protocol analysis Group dynamics Standard setting
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2009. XII, 240 pp., 7 fig., 69 tables

Biographical notes

Spiros Papageorgiou (Author)

The Author: Spiros Papageorgiou is a language assessment specialist in the English Language Institute of the University of Michigan (USA). He has worked as a teacher of English in Greece and has taught undergraduate courses in Linguistics at Lancaster University (UK). He has participated in a number of standard setting projects in Europe, consulting examination providers on the process of relating their examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference.


Title: Setting Performance Standards in Europe