Understanding the portfolio

What is the European Language Portfolio?

The European Language Portfolio is a personal document that has three parts:

A language passport
Here the language learner can summarise his/her linguistic and cultural identity, language qualifications, experience of using different languages and contacts with different cultures.
A language biography
The biography helps the learner to set learning targets, to record and reflect on language learning and on intercultural experiences and regularly assess progress.
A dossier
In this part of the ELP the learner can keep samples of his/her work in the language(s) he/she has learnt or is learning.

 Download an example of a Portfolio:
 Norwegian ELP Model for young learners aged 6 - 12 (6MB)

The European Language Portfolio was developed by the Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe, piloted from 1998 to 2000, and launched in 2001, the European Year of Languages.

How does the European Language Portfolio work?

Central to the European Language Portfolio are the six levels of communicative proficiency defined in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The levels are summarised for the five skills of listening, reading, spoken interaction, spoken production and writing in the self-assessment grid (see below). This is a key component of the Language Passport.

self-assessment grid

The descriptors in the different cells of the self-assessment grid are expanded into checklists of tasks that can be used to plan, monitor and evaluate learning. For example, the descriptor for B1 WRITING might be expanded into the following tasks:

I can write notes giving simple information to friends, service people, teachers and others who feature in my everyday life.
I can write personal letters giving news and expressing my thoughts about music, films etc. in some detail and getting across what I feel is important.
I can write notes or message to check information and ask about or explain problems with reasonable precision.
I can take down messages communicating enquiries and relaying problems.

When learners can perform these tasks in another language they can record in their Language Passport that their level for writing in that language is B1.

Why was the European Language Portfolio introduced?

 The Council of Europe introduced the European Language Portfolio as a means of helping language learners to:

  • Keep track of their language learning as it happens – set learning targets, monitor their progress, and regularly assess the results of their learning
  • Record their language learning achievements and their experience of using other languages and encountering other cultures

In this way the European Language Portfolio

  • Helps to develop language learning and intercultural skills
  • Facilitates educational and vocational mobility
  • Encourages lifelong learning of languages
  • Contributes to the promotion of democratic citizenship in Europe
For all ages in many different countries

Versions of the European Language Portfolio have been developed for language learners of all ages in all sectors of education – pre-school, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, vocational, university, adult – in a large number of Council of Europe member states. Transnational versions have also been developed by several International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs).

A standard version of the Language Passport is recommended for use in European Language Portfolios designed for adults.

A shorter version of the Language Passport is part of the European Union’s Europass, which citizens can use to report their educational qualifications, professional experience and achievements.

 Europass website: europass.cedefop.europa.int

Who is it for?

o Learners
o Teachers
o Teacher trainers
o Decision makers
o Employers

view details on the target groups