When ALTE was formed in 1990 a key objective was to establish common levels of proficiency in order to promote the transnational recognition of language certification in Europe. The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) made significant progress towards this goal, and a number of tools have since been developed to help test providers relate their exams to the CEFR.

Before the CEFR was launched, ALTE produced its own system of levels – this was updated to make reference to the CEFR, and as a result of this process, an ALTE Special Interest Group (SIG) produced the ALTE CEFR/Manual, which provides a means for ALTE members to share their experiences of working with the CEFR, and a platform for the development of CEFR-related tools, documents, workshops and events.

The ALTE CEFR/Manual SIG has been especially active in the area of performance testing. It has developed two different grids for the analysis of sample performances and tasks, and several members of ALTE have provided material designed to help other testing organisations establish the characteristics of performance at particular CEFR levels. This is an ongoing project, and participation in the SIG is open to all ALTE members and affiliates.