Date of this Version
Published in Year of Languages: Challenges, Changes, and Choices: Selected Papers from the 2005 Central States Conference, eds. Peggy Boyles and Paul Sandrock (Eau Claire, WI: Crown Prints), pp. 135-151.
Imagine a language portfolio that provides a context for students and teachers to document and analyze learning progress. Students set learning goals, review and reflect on these goals regularly, and track their own learning to self-assess their progress. Teachers review the portfolio, measure student achievement, and plan curriculum to meet the needs of their students. How can such a portfolio be integrated into the classroom? What are the benefits of using a portfolio? This article addresses these two questions and describes the Nebraska and Kentucky LinguaFolio project aimed at improving student achievement and teacher quality through the integration of a portfolio into the language classroom. The European Language Portfolio served as the model for the LinguaFolio projects. Initiated in 2001 during the European Year of Language, the European Language Portfolio (ELP) is a three-part document over which students have ownership from the earliest days of language learning to the workplace. The Language Biography, Passport, and Dossier serve respectively to: detail and validate a learner’s language background, intercultural activities and language goals; provide an overview of the learner’s language proficiency and cultural activities and record any official documents (certificates/diplomas, etc.); and provide evidence of the learner’s progress (work samples, tutor’s reports, etc.). Recognized by European ministries of education, businesses, and language schools such as the Goethe and Cervantes Institutes and the Alliance Française, the ELP is being used to a varied extent in all 41 nations of the Council of Europe. It is a powerful tool for three important reasons: (1) it helps develop reflective and autonomous learners; (2) it demonstrates the value of multipurpose language learning, heritage languages, and interculturality; and (3) its self-assessment grid, based on the European Common Frame of Reference (Council of Europe, 2001), provides a common criteria for evaluating competency.