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Introduction to the Global Language Portfolio

The Global Language Portfolio (GLP) is an electronic document in three parts. Its language passport allows language learners to summarize their language learning experiences and to describe them in a meaningful way using the terminology of either American rating scales or European rating scales. The language biography focuses on the five C’s of language learning. It provides learners with an opportunity to assess for themselves their language learning progress with communication in five skill areas. It also encourages them to set personal goals in language learning and cultural competence. It also encourages them to plan strategies to meet their individual goals. The dossier both stores samples of a learner’s speaking and writing, and documents results of the learner’s language tests and other professional certifications.

American national standards. The rings of the Five C’s of Language Learning constitute the logo of the National Standards Collaborative whose members developed America’s national standards for foreign language learning. The standards were developed for all languages with specific illustrations in individual languages according to the age group of learners. Language-specific organizations and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) make up the National Standards Collaborative, and all have equal standing. Language-specific associations include:

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The national standards reference ACTFL’s proficiency guidelines and rating scale (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior) in defining performance guidelines by age level for each language. They emphasize what learners “can do” in language-specific performance guidelines. Going beyond the ACTFL guidelines’ four skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening), performance guidelines subdivide the speaking skill into a presentational mode and an interpersonal mode. Organizing principles of the national standards include the Five C’s of Language Learning, the “weave” of curricular elements, and a framework with three communicative modes.

American ratings are summarized in a chart in the end of the GLP language passport. Ratings of Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced, subdivide into “Low”, “Mid”, and “High”, while Superior, and Distinguished stand alone. That chart was reproduced with permission of the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL).

European standards: The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) represents the collaborative work of European scholars over three decades, and it forms the basis for the European Language Portfolio (ELP) upon which the GLP for universities and adults, like its K-16 LinguaFolio predecessor, was modeled. The characteristic language passport, language biography, and dossier were inspired by the ELP, as were the “can do” self-assessment checklists for each of five skills in the language biography. The CEFR’s European scale has levels of A1, A2, B1,B2, C1,C2. These levels are equivalent to all of the previously used national rating scale levels within Europe, and the international tests of the Alliance Française, the Goethe Institute, and the Cervantes Institute, to name but a few, are now all tied to their appropriate CEFR level. The European chart is reproduced as allowed by the developers of the Europass web site.

Learning, teaching, and assessment. This web site is designed to help university-level learners and adult learners create language portfolios for purposes of learning, teaching, and assessment. The site was first developed by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) Commission on Colleges and Universities after having been piloted at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU); earlier versions were piloted as part of LinguaFolio Virginia and the Five-State LinguaFolio projects from 2004-07. GLP is now hosted by AATF, and it encourages participation by all members of the National Standards Collaborative.

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European Portfolios

Global Language Portfolio (GLP) is an electronic portfolio with a language passport, language biography, and a dossier. It promotes language learning and the development of cultural competence, and it is modeled on the European Language Portfolio (ELP). The Council of Europe has validated at least two e-portfolios for university-level and adult learners:

ALTE-EAQUALS e-portfolio

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Benefits for Learners

Global Language Portfolios are designed to help learners to develop:

* language skills and intercultural competence,
* to assess their current language skills, to set personal language learning objectives and establish reasonable goals,
* to identify strategies for the short term and for the long term to meet individual goals and objectives
* to inform others about their proficiency in different languages in clear and simple terms
* to measure the extent to which they have met the goals and objectives for student outcomes assessment in college,
* to determine whether they meet the qualifications to participate in a study abroad program,
* to determine of how well someone as a candidate for an internship or for permanent employment can meet the language requirements for an assignment or job title,
* to document and reflect on their language learning inside and outside of school,
* to document their intercultural experiences,
* to provide evidence of certifications and test results for both educational institutions and employers.

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Benefits for Teachers and Textbook Publishers

Global Language Portfolios will help educators, university programs, publishers, and language trainers:

* to develop a curriculum that promotes student engagement,
* to help learners set goals and develop personal strategies for lifelong learning,
* to help learners to describe their language programs and to document their language learning experiences,
* to develop culturally responsive programs for learner strengths and needs,
* to obtain information about the language learner’s previous language learning experiences,
* to evaluate and document performance in a differentiated way,
* to connect US standards and performance guidelines to the internationally accepted Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
* to correlate textbooks to curricula.

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Benefits for Employers

Global Language Portfolios will help employers:

* to classify the language proficiency of their current employees or job applicants, and to make better use of their language abilities,
* to establish realistic expectations for job applicants and employees based on a clear understanding of what their skills are and what they can do,
* to determine what additional language or intercultural training is needed in the event that a higher level of language skill or cultural competence is required,
* to establish goals for linguistic skills and cultural competence needed to make connections to a particular business, industry, government agency, or nonprofit entity at home or abroad.

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Benefits for Institutions

Global Language Portfolios will help educational institutions, especially in the area of student outcomes assessment and quality assurance. It will allow them:

* to measure learner progress in five language skill areas (listening, reading, writing, spoken production, and spoken interaction),
* to summarize skill levels and document both certifications and diplomas, as well as university degrees,
* to document language learning experiences inside and outside the classroom,
* to document results of standardized tests and official oral interviews, to provide samples of writing and speaking in the dossier,
* to view personalized audio files, video files, PowerPoint presentations, and other media files that illustrate the progress that was made during a course of study.

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Other Benefits

Global stability, economic prosperity, and social cohesion
Global Language Portfolios are intended

* to emphasize the social, economic, cultural, and geopolitical value of knowing many languages, i.e. the value of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism,
* to contribute to global understanding through knowledge of other cultures, connections to other disciplines, comparisons across languages, and knowledge of communities where specific languages are spoken,
* to facilitate articulation among language programs (e.g., high school to university, transfer of students from one university to another, placement in a study abroad program), based on a clear and commonly accepted national and international description of language proficiency,
* to recognize and value heritage languages,
* to promote language learning as a life-long endeavor for learners in all walks of life.

  Global Language Portfolio  

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