en  fr  de
  1. Home
  2.  > 
  3.  > 
    Sign languages
  4.  > 
  5.  > 
    European Language Portfolio

Promoting excellence in sign language instruction

Teacher competences
European Language Portfolio
Pro-sign reference
About the CEFR



The European Language Portfolio (ELP) is a tool designed for documenting learning successes and learning experiences and for independent reflection on the language learning process. It also promotes cultural awareness and helps develop competences for lifelong learning. The ELP exists in both paper and electronic form.


The ELP was first introduced with the first draft of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) during a symposium in 1991 in Rüschlikon (Switzerland). A second draft of the CEFR followed in 1997.  A number of studies were dedicated to the question of implementing the ELP. Between 1998 and 2000, the ELP was tested and further developed in pilot projects in 15 Council of Europe member states. Finally, the ELP was officially presented in Coimbra (Portugal) at the first European ELP seminar, which took place during the European Year of Languages in 2001. It was then introduced at pan-European level. A number of guides were then developed, focusing on the implementation of the ELP in different national and educational contexts. Its usage is now well established for many spoken languages (e.g. German, English, Portuguese and Italian). As part of the ProSign2 project, the ELP for sign languages was first introduced and tested in Germany and Ireland. (Source)

The ELP pursues three main goals:

  1. Pedagogical function: learners are motivated to develop and diversify their language skills at all levels through this informal recognition process. While improving the ability to communicate in different languages or learn different languages, learners are encouraged to experience intercultural experiences and to actively reflect on their own language learning process. In this way learning can be planned and learner autonomy developed. The ELP encourages learners to gain plurilingual and intercultural experiences

  2. Documentation and reporting function: The ELP offers the opportunity to log acquired language and cultural skills, both through informal self-assessment and by including formal test results.  This results in a transparent inventory of the language skills and cultural experiences of the learner. (Source)

  3. Autonomous learning: the ELP can be used independently of time and place. This allows learners to decide individually where, how and when they learn. Even outside the classroom, learners have access to the ELP, allowing them to design their own learning activities.

How teachers can use the ELP 

For teachers, the ELP provides both the results of summative assessments and also information about the learner’s self-assessment of his/her language level. Cultural experiences can be captured, for example through stays abroad or other practical experiences in different regions where the languages are used. The ELP offers a different approach to documentation because both formal and informal language learning and intercultural competences can be documented. In many situations the presentation of an up-to-date ELP, which records the learner’s current language level, may be useful, for example, when changing schools, starting a language course, meeting with a career counselor or applying for a new job.

Use of the ELP for learners 

For learners the ELP provides the possibility to picture their acquired competences in learned languages and by that they log an inventory of the language learning process.  There is also the option of documenting such cultural experiences that can not be proven by a certificate. The skills in the language learning process are also developed through formative assessments. Learning opportunities are shown and incentives are offered to reflect and try oneself. Through summative assessments the development of the language learning process can be monitored, evaluated and compared. (Source)





Benefits of the ELP 

For learners:

  • self-directed and autonomous learning
  • self-assessment
  • self-reflection
  • support of one's own language awareness
  • intercultural learning
  • lifelong learning
  • transparency and documentation of own language learning processes and learning successes
  • exchange with other learners 
  • can be used independently of classroom
  • property of the learner

For teachers:

  • comprehensive form of assessments (summative, formative)
  • various language learning processes are recorded
  • possibility to monitor the individual language learning processes in and outside the classroom
  • collaboration with other teachers 
  • (digital) tool that documents all language skills

Quality assurance stems from the link to the levels within the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), Lessons are elaborated according to the levels of the language learning process. In this way, the learners' language learning processes can be recorded uniformly. This ensures transparency based on agreed common standards. (Source)


The ELP is divided into three parts:

  • language passport
  • language biography
  • dossier

The language passport provides an overview of the current state of the language skills and a summary of the learner’s language learning and intercultural experiences.

The language biography is a tool to judge and reflect on one's own language skills. Furthermore, it offers the possibility to create a learning plan.

The dossier is a collection of evidence in various forms, provided by the learner, that document the learning process at regular intervals. It can be seen as a kind of learning diary.

ELP materials

Content of portfolio, video instruction etc.

Type of material: 2nd 3rd year of BA in Lille on ELP
Country and language: France (Lille), English
Material: Document

Self assessment form in English (ELP) used in Dublin

Type of material: B1 ELP self assessment form
Country and language: Ireland, English - NGT
Material: Document

Description of ELP example

Country and language: France (Lille), English
Material: Document