The RECOLANG team is carrying out a European survey on the place of family languages at school, particularly within different education programmes or curricula involving migrant adolescents aged 11-18.
This survey focuses on the practices of assessing home language skills and their role in different European education systems. More detailed information on the survey can be found below.
The survey is made up of two complementary sections aimed at two different target audiences:
- A section aimed at pupils aged between 11 and 18 (or their families), who are from a migrant background and one or more family languages other than the language(s) of the school.
- A section for schools and educational institutions, teaching and supervisory staff in schools, reception centres and organisations involved in initial and further professional development of teachers working with this age group (11-18 years).
This survey will provide a better understanding of:
- whether and how pupils' languages and cultures are taken into account at school, and for what educational purpose (in relation to learner progress or to teacher professional development);
- how all language skills and their uses can be recognised in relation to learner progress or to teacher professional development.
This survey is based on numerous research studies which show the importance of taking account of all the languages young people bring with them to school.
Research on plurilingual competence shows us that learning a language (the language of schooling, for example) builds on the other (varieties of) languages that an individual (child, adolescent, adult) has at his or her disposal, in his or her repertoire.
At a political level, the report of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly “Migration as an opportunity for European development” (2017) underlines that "migration is an opportunity to be seized for European development". The report lists the economic and cultural benefits of promoting “inclusive societies by enabling the full and active participation of migrants in all aspects of life” (Article 9).
The project sets out to address inequalities in terms of academic success by helping to institutionalise recognition and enhancement of home languages which are different from the language(s) of schooling. To this end, the project will collect and analyse practices and instruments currently in use for assessing home language skills in order to formulate criteria and produce materials for adapted formative assessment, i.e. that allow for reporting on learners’ evolving plurilingual repertoires, thus promoting synergies between the learning of home languages and the development of competences in the language(s) of schooling.
The first stage of the project is a Europe-wide survey with two facets: one intended for pupils (or their families) with a migrant background and another intended for teaching and supervisory teams in schools, reception and training institutions of all kinds, responsible for 11 to 18-year-olds. The objective is to collect examples of current practice in assessing home language skills (written and oral), including possible links to official curricula, as well as testimonials from users, to identify both the languages (and their varieties) of existing tests and future needs (in terms of evaluation materials and training).
Within the framework of the forthcoming project workshop with representatives from all Council of Europe member states, the survey results will be used to map common criteria for formative assessment, adapted to the target audience within the long-term aim of improving the quality and inclusiveness of European education systems.