The CEFcult project: assessing oral proficiency in an intercultural professional context

Álvarez, Inma (2010). The CEFcult project: assessing oral proficiency in an intercultural professional context. In: Languages in Higher Education 2010: Raising the Standard for Languages, 1-2 Jul 2010, London, UK.


In 2006 the ELAN Report highlighted the impact of the lack of foreign language skills by enterprises on their business performance. In addition, many such enterprises report intercultural as well as language barriers when doing business abroad.

This paper presents the initial stages of the CEFcult (2009-2011) project, which is supported by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme. This is an initiative involving a consortium of 12 partners from eight European countries (Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom).

The aim of CEFcult is to develop an online environment that brings together the worlds of higher education and enterprise for the assessment of oral proficiency in an intercultural professional context, making optimal use of social media possibilities. The target groups are employees, those about to (re-)enter the workplace, language teachers, and in-company trainers. The project envisages that learners enter a web environment and engage in oral activities for intercultural professional purposes. The site allows for self-, peer-, and expert assessment against the Common European Framework of Reference, complemented with scales for intercultural competence.

Here I discuss the main issues around the pedagogical choices concerning the frameworks used and scenarios chosen, including some of the technical aspects.

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