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A Quality Assurance Matrix for CEFR Use

21 June 2016

Although the CEFR has now been used as an inspiration for the reform of curricula, teaching and assessment for 15 years now, very little is published that can help people starting out on or taking stock of a CEFR-based innovation in their institution.  The previous ECML ‘ECEP’ project (Encouraging the culture of evaluation among professionals)   provided a guide and a toolkit to help familiarise teachers with the CEFR. 

Now the Quality Matrix project directly responds to questions like the following:  What are the most important aspects to bear in mind in the innovation process? What has been found to really work? How can one get people on board? What are the common pitfalls one should avoid?  The Quality Matrix project runs from January 2016 until December 2018 and the project team consists of: Enrica Piccardo (France: coordinator), Anna Czura (Poland), Gudrun Erickson (Sweden), and Brian North (Switzerland). Two associate members complete the team Valérie Clochard (from Eaquals) and Wendy Carr (from the University of British Columbia, Canada),

The project exploits the 4-stage cycle common to both quality management and action research: 

Planning > Implementation > Evaluation > Reflection

in order to:
- promote a quality approach in curricular and pedagogical change and innovation;
- define in concrete terms the steps of procedures that have proved to be effective; 
- classify and make available examples of good practice from different language education contexts;
- present and explain the materials through scenarios, flowcharts and video statements; 
- pass on tips on what works and what should perhaps be avoided.

The products will be a web-based collection of procedures, tips and illustrative techniques, plus a web tool for profiling an innovation, both organised according to the 4-stage cycle mentioned above. 

These resources aim to:

1) facilitate the transfer of knowledge and expertise related to successful implementation strategies and techniques;
2) provide a matrix of principled guidelines that can be used by different stakeholders in implementing the CEFR at the levels of policy, curriculum development, and teaching; 
3) enable users to profile the strengths and weaknesses of a (planned) innovation;
4) help to promote a culture of evidence-based QA in CEFR implementation; 
5) encourage reflection about key challenges and gains for language education that the CEFR offers;
6) thus facilitate professional development for language teachers by raising awareness of the importance and of the role of a QA approach in curricular and pedagogical innovation.

The first project team meeting took place 17–18 March. At this meeting we fleshed out the concept of the matrix web-tool, developed a simple, structured questionnaire for project participants to use in interviewing two or three colleagues in their country, and we planned the project workshop.   
 
The Quality Matrix project team cordially invite interested delegates from member states to join them at the project workshop in Graz 15–16 November 2016. Together we will interview colleagues in our countries/institutions, identify successful CEFR implementation strategies in different contexts, and collect examples of good practice. The workshop will consider four themes: curriculum development, teacher education, teaching and assessment; participants will be able to focus on one of these themes, or on a couple of them within their own educational sector. 

Take steps to come and join us by getting in touch with the ECML National Nominating Authority in your country and applying to be the national delegate at the project workshop. 

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