Copyright 2024 - 2017

CEFR & LP SIG on Language Portfolio

 The language portfolio in a tool for foreign language education. A core concept of the CEFR is the learner as social agent and language learning a life long process. The European Language Portfolio (ELP) was promoted from the beginning. On this page you will find information related to the language portfolio and its use and implementation in various learning and teaching contexts. 


For the Language Portfolio for Japanese University (pdf downloads) please scroll down!


 Link zur AKS Arbeitsgruppe Sprachenportfolio


 Language Portfolio Roundtable Talk -  working group



the European Language Portfolio (ELP)

- Looking forward


Portfolio related events

 Language Portfolio Roundtable Talk -  working group - 6th meeting

Spring 2023

is actually in the planning stage

You are welcome. To sign up please use the following link: Roundtable Talk Signup form


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  The working group 5th meeting of the Language Portfolio Roundtable Talk was held on October 29th, 2022 from 3:30 pm to 5 pm, online.

 Presenter: Kathleen Mitchell, Fergus O’Dwyer & Laoise Sutton (Marino Institute of Education)

Theme: Reflective ePortfolio practices to facilitate effective self-regulation

in an English for Academic Purposes module

Kathleen Mitchell, Fergus O’Dwyer & Laoise Sutton (Marino Institute of Education)

Reflective ePortfolio practices to facilitate effective self-regulation

in an English for Academic Purposes module

Actual planning stage: As the e-portfolio is taking more ground, we are planning to invite speakers with a action oriented case study on the implementation of an e-portfolio in an European context. The presentation will be available beforehand and we will see the presentation in the beginning. At 4 pm the presenters will join and we will be able to discuss the study. Details are coming soon. 

The meeting will give as well an opportunity to share and exchange on portfolio implementations.


This presentation examines student reflective practices in the compilation of an ePortfolio on an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) module as part of a Foundation programme in an Irish tertiary institution. The aim of these digital teaching and learning strategies is to provide students with greater personal choice, innovation and ownership of their learning.

Over 100 EAP students output various products in the year-long module including research essays, seminar discussions, presentations, reading, writing and listening exams. Learners are free to design and select their content which includes, but is not limited to, multimedia podcasts and videos prepared alone or with peers, evidence of the process and peer-reviewed writing drafts and final submissions, reactions to lecturer feedback, reflective journal entries, and personal blogs or vlogs.

End-of-course questionnaires and reflective journal entries are examined with data analysis focusing on the affective aspects of the process (e.g., how they contribute to future academic development). This is followed up by focus group sessions with selected learners to review their portfolio content and their feelings about the process in general. Analysis shows that the reflective practices have a positive influence on learners’ levels of self-regulation in writing. The reflection improves academic skills like effective implementation of learning and time management strategies, appropriate response to academic expectations and requirements, ultimately nurturing autonomous and strategic learners by enhancing levels of self-direction and self-awareness. The ePortfolio is central to closing (and restarting) the loop in an iterative learning cycle of self-assessment, goal-setting, action (e.g. essay writing) and reflection, couched within an action-oriented approach (North & Piccardo 2019).

Our conclusion will discuss implications about the effectiveness of reflective ePortfolio processes, and will look forward to how current practices can be modified and adapted to suit individual learner needs.

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 Working group - 4th meeting of the working group held on June 4th, 2022 from 3 pm to 5 pm. 

Theme: Towards the e-portfolio

We will read in preparation the article Is a self-regulatory eELP the way forward? A reflection on two decades of achievements and failures of the ELP from Maria José Luelmo del Castillo (Rey Juan Carlos University) & Maria Luisa Pérez Cavana (Open University), CEFR Journal - Research and Practice, Volume  3 (October 2021), page 6-20, available at this homepage.

The fourth meeting continued the inspiring and engaging exchange. 

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 Sharing experience using a language portfolio in each context. Discussion and planning.


  Working group - 3rd meeting held on March 2nd, 2022 (Wed) from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Theme: The language portfolio and learner autonomy

Report on the 3rd Portfolio Roundtable Talk

The language portfolio and learner autonomy

 Reported by Takanori Omura (Soka University)

On March 2nd, the third Portfolio Roundtable Talk was held online. The number of participants was not large but we could have not only participants in Japan but also participants from other countries making this roundtable highly international. This time two inspiring presentations were given by Prof. Takanori Omura and Prof. Gregory Birch who are engaged in the CEFR&LP SIG’s KAKEN project. Despite the small number of participants, the discussion on the theme was deep and made the meeting productive and beneficial for all of us.


Presentation 1 - Prof. Takanori Omura (the writer for this report)

Title: The relationship between university students’ learner autonomy and their attitude towards the electronic portfolio

I am not sure how to report my own presentation from my own perspective because it might become subjective rather than objective. Thus, I’d like to focus on the prime points of my presentation and devote more space on the discussion after this section. This presentation was about one of the small-scale projects that are the core for the CEFR & LP SIG’s KAKEN project. I began this small-scale project last year, with some instruments implemented in my classes, collecting data, and the project is still ongoing. During the process, the group meeting (Language Portfolio and Learner Autonomy) and the general meeting related to KAKEN project have made me reflecting on my research and modify my research design to improve quality. For instance, my focus was “the effect of an e-portfolio on Learner Autonomy”, but I shifted the focus to “The relationship between Learner Autonomy and the students’ attitude towards an electronic portfolio” by observing how other people in the project designed their research or the presentations in the second portfolio roundtable. Also, Gregory Birch’s feedback was always powerful and encouraged me to improve my research. One of the aims of my research is to investigate the correlation between the degree of learner autonomy and the students’ attitude towards the e-portfolio. And, it was so delightful to present my findings which seemed to be interesting enough to draw attention from the participants. As mentioned earlier, this was not the initial focus of my research but fortunately, it turns out that some results in relation to this focus seem to be extremely valuable for discussion. As the surveys include both closed-ended and open-ended questions, and the semi-structured interviews provide the qualitative data, I can analyze the data from two sides, the quantitative side and the qualitative side. The slides I prepared for the presentation this time might have been a little overwhelming, and I should have skipped some slides that I wanted to discuss due to the time constraint, which was what I had predicted to some degree.

 Although I have had experiences presenting the present research in several conferences such as Thailand TESOL, Glo CALL conference, and the CAM TESOL conference, it is always challenging for me to fit the present research, which keeps developing and has a lot of room to be reshaped, in the available presentation time. Nevertheless, that is why my passion for research never fades away. The challenges confronting, interaction with other individuals, and a wealth of feedback from others always makes me feel that I’m still developing, and they can be either fuel or a mental burden depending on how I deal with them.


Dmitri Leontjev (one of the participants) brought up the topic, which was very vital for the theme of this roundtable talk giving the discussion momentum. How should we define autonomy? Is autonomy where one works on by oneself without others? Don’t we as educators make our students believe that learning autonomously is to work alone (which should not be the case)? We should think more of what exactly autonomous learning means, in short, the difference between autonomous learning and independent learning before we tell our students how to learn autonomously. A study about the clarification of autonomous learning and independent learning by Benson, P., and Voller, P. (2014) is a good start on this topic. Andrew Tweed too (one of participants) commented on this topic, “pointing out the difference between autonomous learning (自律学習) and independent learning (自立学習) would help students to understand the nuance between autonomous and independent learning”. Viewing the point from this angle is so insightful. Let me introduce a quote from Benson (2013) regarding this topic.

When independence is used as a synonym of autonomy, its opposite is dependence, which implies excessive reliance on the direction of teachers or teaching materials. One problem with the use of this term, however, is that it can also be understood as the opposite of interdependence, which implies working together with teachers and other learners towards shared goals. (p. 15)

This is such an essential topic, which must be appropriate enough to discuss in the future roundtable talk. Then Gregory’s comment made our discussion move on to the next topic, which is regarding “reactive autonomy”. Littlewood (1999: 75) has distinguished the meanings of “proactive” and “reactive” autonomy based on two levels of self-regulation. Proactive autonomy “regulates the direction of activity as well as the activity itself”, while reactive autonomy “regulates the activity once the direction has been set”. Moreover, the author explains that reactive autonomy is an idea, which is useful in educational settings to clarify a capacity that “once a direction has been initiated, enables learners to organize their resources autonomously in order to reach their goal”. This distinction of two types of autonomy clearly suggests that we should put into consideration that students in the context where they are required to do classroom activities have opportunities to exercise autonomy but it is reactive autonomy. Considering this, the instrument that I have been using might not be suitable for measuring learner autonomy in an accurate way. This is another important point to improve my research in the next cycle, and having a problem pointed out in one’s research through discussing with other individuals is a huge advantage of action research. Some questions regarding the e-portfolio asked by Andrew were so helpful for me to think of how to improve the e-portfolio for the next cycle. One of them was about the learning log. In fact, after implementing the e-portfolio in my classes, I found it so difficult to have students stick to logging their study using the portfolio. Lastly, Motoko Teraoka (one of the participants) asked about the way of using the e-portfolio, which raised a quite meaningful topic for this roundtable. Although it is significantly recognized that an e-portfolio could function to boost learner autonomy in general, the method of e-portfolio use seems to differ among teachers. What is an e-portfolio for? What is the main purpose? How should it be used in the classroom? These are what we would like to discuss and share our thoughts next time.


Presentation 2 - Prof. Gregory Birch

Title: Using an online European Language Portfolio (e-ELP) to promote learner autonomy

This presentation is also about one of the small-scale projects of the KAKEN project. Although both small-scale projects deal with the promotion of learner autonomy with e-portfolio use, each of our research projects seems to be quite different with regards to its approach. Gregory’s focus in his research is to investigate how the students “acquire the metacognitive knowledge and the metacognitive skills believed necessary to take control of their learning” according to the abstract. In his presentation, what impressed me the most was that he stressed we should be careful when we define autonomy, which is related to what we discussed earlier and the topic about the difference between autonomous learning and independent learning. I believe that the quote from Benson (2013), which is “autonomy does not mean independence from the teacher”, which Gregory has used in his research precisely explains what he wants to convey and his belief. As Gregory and other participants stated, it seems that many people and perhaps many Japanese might not have considered the definition of autonomy in this way. He pointed out that many Japanese students imagine that autonomy is to study by themselves when they hear the word. It’s so interesting to realize this fact based on his analysis showing several aspects such as the interview results. In addition, he proposed that there is an unignorable issue in the instrument (i.e. the Autonomous Learning Scale (Macaskill & Taylor, 2010)), in which some questions might lead the students to misconceive learner autonomy. As I use the same scale in my research, his identification of this issue has become an important signal for me to review my methodology as well. It seems true that many Japanese imagine that autonomy is to study alone. However, it leaves us an interesting discussion to dig into, which is “What are the factors that make people regard autonomy as such?”, and “Shouldn’t we have the cultural background in our mind when we define autonomy?; in other words, “Is there some cultural background that it is totally fine to imagine that autonomy is to study alone?”

 Another thing that was impressive listening to his presentation was his clear vision of how he is going to revise the intervention and the research plan. He has pointed out some issues and possible solutions in his implementation, and his research plans for the next cycle. For instance, in the goal setting activity, he found that some students didn’t complete the form, or even if they completed the form, the process was linear (i.e. They didn’t go back to revise previous answers). To tackle these issues, he thinks providing some examples would help students. I believe that this attempt is an element and the true value of action research that we are trying to demonstrate. The overall goal of his research is how the ELP can be improved and revised to further promote learner autonomy and help improve language proficiency. It seems that there are still a number of steps to take; however, I have no doubt he will show us fascinating results in the near future.


Dmitri brought up the topic of a positionality that consists of the role of teacher and the role of researcher. This should be one of the debatable topics especially in action research where the educator and the researcher are generally the same person. Obviously, too much bias would ruin the research data and the analysis part, but there are also huge advantages considered, such as the flexibility of research plan and availability of more data. It should be noted that the relationship between the teacher and the students plays a role in order to take these advantages. I think that it is human nature to have a feeling of wanting to help others. In addition, he suggested monitoring the change of the students’ expectation of the teacher and the course at the beginning and end of the course, which should be helpful to provide a different viewpoint for the research. It’s important to see if the students feel any responsibility for their learning or how much responsibility they feel before and after the implementation, which is directly associated with an element of learner autonomy.

 Andrew commented on the Language Learning History, which is one of the instruments in Gregory’s research, and suggested how much freedom the teacher should give the students when the teacher allows them to choose some questions to answer. In relation to this issue, he mentioned that the cognitive and linguistic demand deriving from the questions are placed on the students, and these issues often seem to appear when the English proficiency level of students is quite low. Gregory is wisely dealing with this kind of issue mainly by organizing or curating the questions in the Language Learning History that he borrows from Murray (2009) so that his students can recognize what kind of questions they are more easily. As Andrew pointed out, it is extremely difficult to keep a balance between the freedom students can exercise and the constraints teachers impose when we take the researcher’s role because we can’t force students to do something. Thus, I believe that the rapport between the two sides always matters. Educators always want students to feel freedom to some degree and to feel free to do the tasks instead of being forced to do them by the teacher. We can create the best point where the students are given a certain freedom, and at the same time they can be active and cooperative enough to be helped by the teacher and help themselves if we build the humanistic rapport with the students.


Maria Gabriela Schmidt (the organizer of this roundtable) wrapped up the meeting with some interesting thoughts. She pointed out that Japanese students are generally educated with the emphasis of “by oneself” in Japanese education. Therefore, the term autonomy is often perceived as a way to study by themselves in Japanese society. She went on to say that cooperation is considered vital in Japan as other nations, but what in fact can be observed here is “concerted interaction”, which significantly differs from the group interaction in European contexts. Thus, we should always keep this cultural background in mind when discussing autonomy.


Benson, P. (2013). Teaching and researching: Autonomy in language learning. Routledge

Benson, P., & Voller, P. (2014). Autonomy and independence in language learning. Routledge.

Littlewood, W. (1999). Defining and developing autonomy in East Asian contexts. Applied Linguistics 20(1): 71–94.

Macaskill, A., & Taylor, E. (2010). The development of a brief measure of learner autonomy in university students. Studies in higher education, 35(3), 351–359.

Murray, G. (2009). A self-directed learning course. In A. Smith & G. Strong (Eds.) Adult Language Learners: Context and Innovation, (61-70). TESOL.

This report is available in Newsletter #34 (April 2022).

Working group -  2nd meeting held on January 29th, 2022 from 2 to 4 pm

Theme: Forms of feedback and how to support peer-feedback. 


The report is in preparation.

Working group - 1st meeting October 23rd, 2021 from 2 to 4 pm

First meeting with introducing the experience with the language portfolio so far. Sharing experience using a language portfolio in each context. Discussion and planning. 

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Language Portfolio for Japanese University


The bilingual (English/Japanese) "Language Portfolio for Japanese University" (LP) is based on the CercleS ELP ( 

The Language Portfolio for Japanese University is available click here (pdf format; 18 pages), 

- Along with an Appendix for Language Portfolio for Japanese Universities click here, with checklists in English for each skill and level (Japanese translations provided; pdf format), 

- A teacher manual is available: Teacher Manual click here, (pdf format)

- A version of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) in English (see CoE for CEFR 2001, CEFR/CV 2018 and CEFR/CV 2020) and Japanese

(for printing use/see page 8 of the Language Portfolio).

- If you are interested in separate documents (both MS Word and pdf formats), plus the complete portfolio and appendix in MS Word format) please contact us.


You maybe interested in reading this paper which deals with use of the LP in classes in a Japanese university.

Please note that this Language Portfolio, with a basic design, is open to improvement. Please let us know your feedback in order to improve and create a better version. Volunteering to implement changes is an option.


JALT CEFR & Language Portfolio SIG (former Framework & Language Portfolio SIG)



(Updated on July 22nd, 2023 MGS)

This online toolkit is supported by KAKEN Grant-in-Aid project no. 20K00759, no. 19K00808 and no. 16K02835 and aims to support teachers of all foreign languages in Japan in using the CEFR and CEFR/CV efficiently.