Promoting and evaluating the use of the European Language Portfolio (ELP) in Higher Education

The Nuffield Foundation and the University of Southampton funded 10 partner institutions to run mini-projects whose aim was to implement and evaluate the European Language Portfolio in Higher Education.


January, 2003 - January, 2004

Key contact(s):

Vicky Wright
Director of the Centre for Language Study
University of Southampton

Funded by:

Nuffield Foundation and the University of Southampton.

The Nuffield Foundation University of Southampton (

Project partners:

  • School of Modern Languages, Liverpool University
  • Language Centre - European and International Studies, Loughborough University
  • Language Centre, University of Durham
  • Centre of Language Studies, City University London
  • Nottingham Language Centre, Nottingham Trent University
  • Open Learning Centre, King’s College London
  • Language Centre, University of Bristol
  • Language Centre, University of Warwick
  • Centre for Language Study, University of Southampton
  • Centre for Modern Languages, University of Birmingham
  • Language Centre, London School of Economics

Project aims:

To implement and evaluate the European Language Portfolio in Higher Education.



The final report, written by Vicky Wright: Promoting and evaluating the use of the European Language Portfolio Project

European Language Portfolio: general information


Council of Europe

The Modern Languages Division of the Council of Europe developed the European Language Portfolio

as a tool to support the development of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism’.

For a list of validated portfolios visit: Council of Europe website.

Visiting this page you will have the chance to get a complete list of all the ELP versions available and contacts in case you need to find out more information.

Project plan:

The following timetable indicates the principal project activities, when they took place and who was responsible for them.

Project Action March/April May/Sept Sept/Jan February
Start-up phase
Planning C C    
Select and brief mini-project partners with first workshop C C / MP    
Implementation phase
Portfolio use     MP  
Monitoring impact     MPE  
Evaluation phase
Case studies and final feedback     MP  
Analysis of data     C  
Compilation of project report       C
Dissemination phase
Final workshop       C / MP / SC

C: Centre for Language Study, University of Southampton
MP: Mini-projects
MPE: Mini-projects evaluator
SC: Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies


Details of the ten mini projects and contacts are given below. If you would like to find out more about any of them, please contact the appropriate coordinator.

If you would like to share your experiences of using the European Language Portfolio or would like to attend the final dissemination workshop, please contact the project coordinator Anna Efstathiadou-Adams at Southampton (

1. Ulrike Bavendiek, Academic Organiser, Continuing Language Courses/Language Learning Adviser - School of Modern Languages, Liverpool University

Contact: Ulrike Bavendiek (

Project description: At the University of Liverpool, we aim to evaluate the impact of the ELP on the motivation of adult language learners in a Lifelong Learning Context.

The ELP will be used as a tool to raise students’ awareness of the language skills they have already developed and thus structure their learning process. It will further help them link their language learning achievements to their career development.

Questionnaires aiming at motivation and the students’ continuation/expansion of language studies as reflected in the enrolment figures will be used to determine the impact of the ELP on motivation.

2. Val Boyle, Manager, Language Centre - European and International Studies, Loughborough University

Contact: Val Boyle (


Project description: Each year the Language Centre organises a programme of subsidised evening classes for students, staff and the local community. These courses have no formal assessment or accreditation. We intend to offer the ELP as an optional form of self-assessment to all students registering for French, German, Spanish and Italian evening classes this year. Those who take up the offer will receive the necessary documentation and advice from the Centre, backed up by the webpage with hints and tips on how to use the portfolio effectively. Tutors responsible for the groups in question have agreed to attend a training session beforehand.

Useful websites:


Names of people who participate in the project:

  • Yvonne Cornejo - Senior University Teacher and Evening Class Coordinator
  • Michel Cornette - French Tutor
  • Dominique Thomas - French Tutor
  • Hazel Rennick - French and German Tutor
  • Marion Jost - German Tutor
  • Ed Parnell - German Tutor
  • Luisa Sutcliffe - Spanish Tutor
  • Giambattista Picciano-Moss - Italian Tutor

3. Randal Holme, Director - Language Centre, University of Durham

Contact: Randal Holme (

Project description: The University of Durham Language Centre implements ELP in its Languages for All (LFA) classes, which cater not only for students of the university (non-linguists from other departments as well), but also outside users.

  • The Centre will introduce the ELP at the start of its LFA classes in October (in tandem with the option of final OCR exams) and gather feedback at the end of the first term, although continue using it for the rest of the year
  • The Centre is also interested in finding out the impact of the portfolio on the number of registrations for the OCR exam and in general how best it can be implemented for helping the learners.

4. Isabelle Marcoul, Language Coordinator for the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students - Centre of Language Studies, City University London

Contact: Isabelle Marcoul (

Project objective: Develop our ELP version on-line. This project would investigate the following:

  • Formative assessment
  • Learner strategies and strategy learning
  • E-learning in relation to student autonomy and widening participation

Type of students: Non-specialist linguists who opted for language courses as either part of their final degree or as a free option. The sample of students as participants to this on-line project should be around 50, with half of them coming from our LSP (Language Specific Purposes) courses and the rest from our LGP (Language General Purposes) courses. The LSP students are those who have a language option as part of their degree and the LGP students are, in general, those who selected a language course for their personal linguistic improvement. In this case the option does not count towards their final degree.

5. Dalila Moreno-Crampton, Language Learning Adviser - Nottingham Language Centre, The Nottingham Trent University

Contacts: Anna Nirmalendran and Dalila Moreno-Crampton (advisers) (

Programme description: The European Language Portfolio adopted by the Nottingham Trent University is the one by the Council of Europe.

Type of learner: University Language Programme.

Numbers: 10-15 (on a voluntary basis).

Staff training: September (date to be confirmed)- Introduction to all ULP Tutors.
Brief talk about Learner Autonomy and learning styles and strategies. They would support students, if requested, in their selection of materials and in promoting the ELP among their students. Tutors will work in tandem with the advisers.

Student training: Second week of teaching (w/b 29/09)- Introduction to students. Two - three 1-hour sessions, depending on demand.
Third & fourth weeks of teaching (w/b/ 06/10) - Prepare students for ELP. 2 to 3 1-hour group sessions, depending on demand, to accommodate for different timetables.

6. Carmen Mortara, Open Learning/CALL Coordinator - Open Learning Centre, King’s College London

Contact: Carmen Mortara (

Project description: The Open Learning Centre intends to pilot ELP with small groups of students in the following programmes:

a) Programme for specialist linguists which focuses on students attending the BA Degree in Modern Languages with Education and

b) Programmes for non-specialist linguists targeting either Adult Education students studying Italian for one and a half hours per week or Business Spanish Programme of the Master Degree in Business Administration (MBA) in the London Business School (LBS).

The demonstrable outputs and benefits of the project consist of:

  • A mini case study, which documents the methodology for implementing the ELP across the three Programmes, outlined above, and which charts the benefits, the disadvantages and any difficulties associated with implementation.
  • A qualitative analysis and summary, based on information gathered from learners using a graded questionnaire and focus group discussions, as to whether having a qualified learning advisor assisting with the implementation of the ELP enables learners to assume gradually more responsibility for their own learning.
  • A workshop, where the results of the project are disseminated to relevant staff working the in MLC and Open Learning Centre (OLC).

7. Helen Phillips, Deputy Director Applied Foreign Languages - Language Centre, University of Bristol

Helen Phillips (Deputy Director Applied Foreign Languages Language Centre)
Ana Ramos (Spanish Coordinator Language Centre)

Project description: “Language for Science and Technology” is a new applied foreign language unit that will be piloted at post GCSE level in French and Spanish by the Language Centre at the University of Bristol in the academic year 2003-2004. Developed in response to a request from the University’s Science Faculty, it aims to give first year science students on the Year in Continental Europe Programme wider and more subject specific exposure to the target language prior to the year spent abroad. The unit is fully accredited within the University framework and is designed as autonomous self-directed learning accompanied by tutorial support incorporating the use of the European Language Portfolio (ELP). By using the ELP it is hoped that students will be exposed to different methods and strategies used in the acquisition of a foreign language, enabling them to reflect upon and summarize their individual language learning experiences and cultural identity.

8. Bob Powell, Director - Language Centre, University of Warwick

Contact: Bob Powell (

Project description: The Language Centre pilots the use of the ELP among three sets of students:

  • First year students in French, aiming to promote the development of good language learning strategies and key skills as well as providing a passport tool at the beginning of a degree course which can be completed through the years of degree.
  • Non-specialist undergraduates studying in the Centre (French, German, Spanish and Russian)
  • Business clients

9. Kirsten Söntgens, German Language Coordinator - Centre for Language Study, University of Southampton

Contact: Kirsten Söntgens (

Project description: The pilot project at the University of Southampton is aimed at a group of non-specialised language learners from the School of Engineering. The ELP has been chosen in order to provide students with a portable qualification that documents their language learning beyond that of learning at university. It is described as providing ‘the satisfaction of a lifelong record of developing language skills and as a stimulus to reflect on linguistic competence’ (The European Language Portfolio for Adult and Vocational Leaners).

The Portfolio will be compiled in various electronic formats, supported by the resources of a specifically-designed Blackboard website and the use of IT resources in a weekly learning and teaching session that takes place in a dedicated CALL environment, known as the SMART classroom. The tutor acts as a designer of activities and guide to the students in the process of ‘evidence collection’ for the portfolio.

Useful websites:

Sprachen Portfolio, Verband Wiener Volksbildung

Council of Europe Information (2003)

CILT, UK (2003)

Subject Centre for Languages, Southampton, UK (2003)

CEF by ALTE (2003)

10. Dietmar Wozniak, Deputy Director - Centre for Modern Languages, The University of Birmingham

Contact: Dietmar Wozniak (

Project description: The mini project will help the Centre for Modern Languages in the assessment of the following main points (however it is noted that the list is not complete at this stage and some changes may occur on course):

  • Suitability/usefulness of the ELP elements (Passport/Biography/Portfolio) for our students
  • Acceptance of ELP students
  • Impact of ELP on student learning (reflection on learning techniques/skills etc) and motivation
  • Feasibility and desirability of ELP introduction to all students as either a compulsory component of our courses or as an additional voluntary service with its implications for staff involvement/workload
  • Assessment of back-up support/structures needed for students and staff if ELP is to be introduced to a wider group of students
  • Suitability of our current course structure for ELP and identification of changes needed
  • Potential for making ELP a fully integrated part of our assessment scheme

Additionally, there are few more universities who agreed to participate in the project:

Nick Byrne
CercleS (Language Centre, London School of Economics). LSE Language Centre pilots the ELP with just one Degree class in each language (French, Spanish, Russian and German), and with one Certificate Class in each Modern Foreign Language with a potential to be also used for the EAP Foundation Programme. A total number of about 250 is participating. For further information visit the well-structured and informative web site created by the Centre’s administrative coordinator John Heyworth: LSE: European Language Portfolio.