Describing Language Proficiency: PISA-reading literacy, EQF-key competences, and the CEFR Waldemar Martyniuk Language Policy Division Council of Europe Strasbourg, France Analysed documents • Council of Europe, 2001: Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment • OECD, 2003: The PISA 2003 Assessment Framework • Commission of the European Communities, 2005: Towards a European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning, SEC(2005) 957 Analysed elements • Function • Aims • Approach / parameters / categories of description / descriptors • Levels CEFR • European language neutral framework of reference for development and assessment of proficiency in FL by adult learners • Providing common meta-language and common reference points for plurilingual education (FL) • Action-oriented approach; Descriptive Scheme for language use: competences, activities and strategies, tasks and purposes, domains, text types, themes, situations (contexts of use), conditions and constraints • 6 (9) Common Reference Levels: global scale, self-assessment scale, 54 scales of illustrative descriptors (qualitative and quantitative cando statements) PISA • International assessment framework for testing mathematical, scientific and reading literacy of young adults at the age of 15 • Monitoring outcomes of educational systems; providing basis for collaboration on policy; providing input for standard-setting and evaluation; supporting shift in policy focus from educational inputs to learning outcomes • Dimensions of reading literacy: processes, content (knowledge and understanding), context of application • 5 levels, 5 subscales, one combined scale; task descriptions (similar to can-do statements) PISA – assessing literacy • Human capital (OECD definition): „the knowledge, skills, competences and other attributes embodied in individuals that are relevant to personal, social and economic well-being” • Aim of PISA: „to measure how well young adults, at the age of 15 and therefore approaching the end of compulsory schooling, are prepared to meet the challenges of today’s knowledge societies” • Literacy: mastery of processes, understanding of concepts, ability to function in various situations (contexts) • Reading literacy: „the capacity to understand, use and reflect on written texts, in order to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s own knowledge and potential, and to participate in society” PISA – Reading literacy • Processes (aspects): – – – – – Forming a broad understanding Retrieving information Developing an interpretation Reflecting on content of text Reflecting on form of text • Content (knowledge and understanding): – Continuous texts (narrative, expository, descriptive, argumentative/persuasive, injunctive/instructive – Non-continuous texts (charts, graphs, diagrams, maps, forms, advertisements) • Context of application (situations) = CEFR domains: – – – – Personal Educational Occupational Public PISA – Reading literacy: levels • Mean score: 500 points (2/3 of candidates in PISA 2000 scored 400-600) • 5 levels: – – – – – Level Level Level Level Level 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 335 – 407 points 408 – 480 481 – 552 553 – 625 over 625 • Level Descriptors, e. g.: „Make a simple connection between information in the text and common, everyday knowledge” (Level 1, Sub-scale: Reflecting and evaluating) • Composite item map, e. g.: „Identify the implied starting date of a graph” (retrieving information, non-continuous text, score 540) EQF • European meta-framework of reference for qualifications as outcomes of lifelong learning • Enabling qualifications to be related to each other; facilitating transfer and recognition; increasing transparency and supporting mutual trust; quality assurance • Learning outcomes: knowledge, skills, wider competences – personal and professional (autonomy and responsibility, learning competences, communication and social competences); key competences integrated • 8 levels, 3 scales EQF-elements • Common reference points (levels and scales) • Tools and instruments: – Integrated European credit transfer and accumulation system for lifelong learning; – Europass scheme: • • • • • CV Language Passport Certificate Supplement Diploma Supplement Europass Mobility – Database on learning opportunities (Ploteus portal) • Set of common principles and procedures (addressing quality assurance, validation of formal and informal learning, guidance and counselling, and promotion of key competences) EQF-levels and scales • 8 levels: – 1-2: compulsory education – 3: upper secondary or adult education – 4: end of upper secondary / post- compulsory education; „gateway to HE” – 5: completion of post-secondary; „short cycle” within the first cycle of HE – 6: HE, first cycle – 7: HE, second cycle – 8: HE, third cycle • 3 scales: – reference levels (ability descriptors) – supporting information (educational context) – indicators of level of qualification (recognition) EQF – Key Competences • A framework of reference for competences to be acquired at the end of compulsory schooling but also learned, updated and maintained throughout life – integrated in the EQA at Level 2 • Supporting national policies – part of EU Lisbon strategy „Education and Training 2010” • 8 key competences: Communication in mother tongue, Communication in a FL, Mathematical literacy (incl. science and technology), ICT-skills, Learning to learn, Interpersonal and civic competence, Enterpreneurship, Cultural awareness • Descriptors: knowledge, skills, attitudes EQF – Key Competences – Communication in MT • Definition: „ability to express and interprete thoughts, feelings and facts in both oral and written form in the full range of societal contexts, work, home and leisure” • Knowledge: vocabulary, functional grammar and style, types of literary and non-literary texts, paralinguistic features, types of verbal interaction, functions of language, features of and styles and registers in spoken and written language, awareness of variability in language and communication over time • Skills: communicating, reading, writing, searching for and processing information, using aids, formulating arguments • Attitudes: positive attitude to the MT, open mind ready to engage in constructive and critical dialogue, strive for aesthetic quality, love of literature, intercultural communication, confidence when speaking in public EQF – Key Competences – Communication in FL • Definition: „as in MT – in languages other than the MT and the language(s) of instruction at school, according to one’s wants and needs; essential elements of communicative competence (reference to CEFR-levels) • Knowledge: vocabulary, functional grammar, intonation and pronunciation, types of literary and non-literary texts, paralinguistic features, types of verbal interaction, functions of language, features of and styles and registers in spoken and written language, awareness of societal conventions and cultural aspects and variability of language in different geographical, social and communication environments • Skills: listening, speaking, interacting, reading, writing, using aids, autonomous learning • Attitudes: sensitivity to cultural differences and resistance to stereotyping, interest in and curiosity about languages, intercultural communication Summary • CEFR, EQF: descriptive European metaframeworks • PISA: international assessment framework • Competence based: focus on learning outcomes (ability based on knowledge) • Common target group: young adults (end of compulsory education) • Some differences in the use of terminology (competence, domain, situation, content, context, purpose) • Overarching framework structure: – – – – – Descriptive scheme Reference levels and scales Tools and instruments Guidelines and procedures Assessment scheme (with background surveys) Conclusions • Need for closer cooperation on European and international level • Issues for discussion: – To what extent is competence based approach suitable for LE? – Which elements of the overarching framework structure might be developed for LE? – What other elements might be needed? – How to relate a LE framework to the existing frameworks?