LEVELS A2, ETC
I have heard of levels A2,B2,etc. What do they mean and what do they mean to an employer (ie. GCSE?)
I think with Duolingo in Spanish you can reach B1- lower B2
French you need a grammar, if you only use Duolingo A2 - lower B1
I find Duolingo ideal for repassing school knowledge; Or to start in a playful way. To advance you have to practice with: newspapers, radio, TV, songs, litterature, conversations and maybe a French grammar.
For an employer:
Forget everything below an upper-intermediate / proficient / conversational or "good in speaking and writing" level.
If you tell them in a CV you have gained "French skills", they immediately want to test you out in the interview.
They do not only expect you to be able to read to a low level, but:
You need to be proficient in listening to them and responding appropriately on a fluent level to express your own thoughts and answering their questions on point about your life or things you have written on your CV (e.g job positions, what you have done previously, talk about 2-3 interesting projects, any goals you have achieved).
This is one of the reasons, I might refuse to talk in English in a job interview if I can here in Germany about my past experiences even I have been training this language for 23+ years and I surely have reached a higher writing level yet.
Sometimes there are firstly "telephone interviews" and they might be even harder if they switch the language.
But as for example I do not have the opportunities in Germany to talk in English on a daily or at least weekly basis, it obviously makes ZERO sense to experience for yourself that you "hit the limits" trying to converse on a higher (pretty advanced) speaking level.
Honestly, some questions can be really tough so you might even struggle to answer them in your native language.
I think it is perfectly fine to rate a language you have learned for a longer time that you have gained "basic knowledge" or that you can speak internally in a team or answer e-mails when you got the job, but you are not truly conversational to be able to handle a job interview or any stress situation like that.
Go and proactively ask the HR people and interviewers what language the job interview will be taken place and you will be tested on.
You cannot UNDO a first impression (even if its a quite bad one when you struggle for words because it renders your 3-5+ years in learning a foreign language useless if you get asked to do this).
Would I bother to include a language rating below a high B2 level?
Probably not, at least not for the speaking part.
Make sure you book 1-on-1 teacher classes if you want or need to prepare for job interviews in a different language than your native one or if there is any sign in the job description that you need to also show a good command of language X and be prepared that the interviewers might suddenly switch in the middle of the interview.
GCSE or similar?
Well, hard to say, but are you actually learning to speak a foreign language in a school?
Are you conversational?
I am not an HR person, but as you ask the community I would personally be more interested in official language certifications (language test centers) where they test you on all four criterias or if and for how long you are enrolled into a language institut class (e.g full-time 2-4 months or part-time); most institutes do a final test at the end of the course, so you maybe you could show this certification.
But make sure you actually learned something as you might be tested in real life ;)
You are awaking expectations trying to stand out from others...
If you have gained something like this recently or you are enrolled in parallel, you are showing off that you are hard working on it. So this is a good thing.
Personally I would probably list any low language skills (basic reading/writing) only in the hobby CV section.
You need lots of DAILY practice - I would say at least 3-5y, even better 7-10+ years in a language to have a good routine and not be pushed "over limit" quickly when you are asked to speak.
They may not test you on your language skills if the skills are completely irrelevant to the job. Think of the skills as the last part of the resume, where you mention a couple things that make you human.
But if the job requires language skills, you'll need to go much farther than Duolingo will take you, as Thomas.Heiss detailed.
The most recognized assessment for French is the DELF. http://www.ciep.fr/en/delf-dalf
Here's a list of a bunch of language assessment tests: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_language_proficiency_tests
Putting it another way, after completing the Staff A/B TREE 8, what level would I have achieved?
what level would I have achieved?
You have answered it for yourself by reading the "French trees explained" thread from moderators: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/29069435$from_email=comment&comment_id=30261861
You might have achieved some knowledge towards A1...but you still might miss some parts here and there.
Duo's lacking of L2 target language (French) writing on the lower crown L0-L2 (L3) levels (L4-L5 is IMHO only theory; already fails for my first four Portuguese skills) and less opportunities in speaking, be aware that the shown level is more appropriate for French reading, some basic grammar, and rudimentary writing.
You definitely have to use other applications or learning resources in parallel for:
- much more writing in French (can you correctly RECALL any of those learned words from Duolingo with all the accents/diacritics on Memrise/AnkiSRS??)
- listening to native content (e.g Duolingo French stories as the first step)
- reviewing French grammar (tree8 lacks 26+ dedicated verb tense/grammar skills) with books or https://www.lawlessfrench.com / https://french.kwiziq.com
Duolingo is only using robotic TTS, so your listening skills are not really trained.
when I finish my staff A/B tree8 with 119 skills, I would have reached CEFR A1 LEVEL
Are you going to try an offical French A1 CEFR test?
If yes, make sure you have the proper preparation to fill the "black holes" so you can pass it.
Do I get a certificate after completing the staff A/B TREE 8?
No, there are no certificates, but you will get your "golden owl" and you will be listed with your L1-L5/golden tree on http://www.duome.eu/en/fr once you have reached the minimum streak of 100 days (first you need to get on the SHOF).
I believe GCSE level is A2. A Levels might be going into a top B1 level. The CEFR scale is just a measure of proficiency in a language: A1&2 are beginner, B1&2 are intermediate, and C1&2 are advanced (native speaker level). Putting a foreign language on your CV may make you more likely to get a job compared to those who don't know any foreign languages, perhaps.
I understand from Thomas.Heiss on another useful thread that when I finish my staff A/B tree8 with 119 skills, I would have reached CEFR A1 LEVEL?. (correct me if I am wrong).
Hi Thomas. Yes, I would like to try for the official A1 CEFR test later. Thanks for the "black hole" warning.
I may have to switch to the staff 12 tree to get to A2. How do I do this? Regards.
I have to switch to the staff 12 tree to get to A2.
How do I do this?
You open a private browsing window (no activity tracking) and once you are sure you have caught the much longer tree12 with 156 skills (either the normal one or the Part1-8 grouping version with line separators where I am not really sure if this a normal A/B alternative layouting test or might be Pearson tree related) - and not the tree8 version with 119 skills - you finally have to register a NEW user account in the same browser window to be able to access it permanently.
Only NEW user accounts are included in the tree8+12 tests for the moment....that is accounts, that have never been associated to the old tree2/tree3 (or tree8) French courses before.
"Changes ahead for tree transitions": https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29156220