I have to admit to getting a little number-crazy when I talk about language learning. I’m referring to the CEFR scale of course, and very often when I use one of my languages, I wonder if something I said/didn’t/wasn’t able to say makes me at a C1, B2, A1 etc.
Although this scale can be very useful in understanding what your degree of fluency is, especially in helping you to understand what you can do in the language, there is a very strong downside to it: it’s very easy to get caught up in the numbers. As it is now, I have no idea what my level of German is, or where I would likely be placed. I could estimate it, but I don’t know how useful that would really be. I do know though, whatever it is, there would be many reasons for me to try to improve. I need to be less hesitant, use a wider range of vocabulary, comprehend sooner, etc. I’m not sure how this would be measured in a CEFR test, and I don’t know if I need a test to tell me how well I can use the language.
The other problem I’ve found with the CEFR scale is this: what appears to be a very low/very high level can drastically change depending on the situation. I used to think that an A2 (upper beginner) speaker knew next to nothing, because that is how I felt when my German was at that point. Wow, was I wrong! I would be fairly confident in saying that I’m probably around that level in Polish, and when I think of how much work it’s taken to reach that point, my past thoughts of it being “nothing” go away immediately.
I think my mindset has changed from being focused on a scale, to now being excited to see how I’m able to use the language I do have. It’s very fun to be able to see myself recognizing more words and being able to respond more automatically than I was in the past–and that’s much more enjoyable than worrying solely about a CEFR number!