How, when and by whom was the European Language Portfolio developed?

The development of Language Portfolios and of a common system of reference for the comparative evaluation of language examinations was proposed by a Swiss team in the late 1980s. It was approved in 1991 at a symposium which took place in Rüschlikon (Switzerland) in the context of a language project carried out by the Council of Europe.

Forming an important component of the Language Portfolios, the competence descriptors scale of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) was developed from 1993 to 1998 as part of a Swiss National Science Foundation project belonging to the National Research Program NRP 33.

In the mid 1990s, three versions were drafted for different age groups: for children (in France), for young people (in Germany) and for young people and adults (in Switzerland). From 1997 on, various other versions of the Language Portfolio were developed, some of which were closely based on the existing drafts. From 1998 to 2000, various versions were tested within the scope of four transnational projects in 15 countries and regions. Since early 1998, a number of seminars have also taken place on the development and dissemination of Language Portfolios.

The first Swiss Language Portfolio (ELP III 16+, for young people and adults) was officially launched on 1 March 2001 on the occasion of the European Year of Languages. At the same time, the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK) issued a statement that was co-signed by various parties from the worlds of education and work. The first portfolio was followed by ELP II for learners aged 12-15 in 2005, by ELP I for learners aged 7-11 in 2008 and by the Portfolino for children aged 4-7 in the same year.

Read more…