LinguaFolio® Training Resources

Training modules to show how to implement LinguaFolio®

1.6 Language Biography

The Language Biography is a record of personal, language-learning history. In this section of LinguaFolio, students are prompted to reflect on how they learn and to set learning goals. They evaluate their learning goals and reflect on language learning and cultural experiences. The Biography’s can-do statements help learners assess their language competencies and interactions in authentic cultural contexts. The Biography is the most important part in the formative assessment process.

Sometimes we wonder, why do students come to us and ask what their grade will be? Why don’t they know? It may be easy for us to evaluate our own proficiency, but students must have plenty of opportunities to practice self-assessment in order to form realistic and accurate evaluations of their abilities.

Parts of the Biography
Learners use the three parts of the Language Biography to reflect on and document their overall language-learning processes.

In this part of the LinguaFolio Biography, language learners document personal language-learning history. They reflect on how they learn and complete a learning inventory.

Learners evaluate their responses to various intercultural encounters and learn to react appropriately to a specific audience. Using cultural experiences as a starting point, students explore their feelings, perceptions, and goals.

The checklists and self-assessment grid are from the standard version of LinguaFolio — usually for students in heritage language programs, middle school language programs for high school credit, and high school or university language programs. When learners feel they can check off most of the can-do statements within a category, they summarize that ability in the Language Passport using the self-assessment grid indicators. A checklist sample and the self-assessment grid are both linked below.

The checklists are used by the learner for self-assessment but can also be used for peer- and teacher-assessment. The teacher may draw information from the Biography to guide instructional decisions.

In this video, teachers comment on the effect of the checklists in the language learning process. In your opinion, what are the three most important impacts?

Watch video here.
Video transcript: “Language Biography Checklists” (pdf)

It is not unusual for a learner to be more competent in one area than another. For example, a learner may be intermediate-low in the speaking mode, but already at intermediate-mid in the interpretive mode.

Reaching consensus about where to place students in classes and when to move them to the next level is difficult. The checklists provide a unique opportunity to educators making these decisions. Using these checklists helps build a deeper understanding of proficiency levels, which can impact the expectations for the articulation sequence of a program at each level.

Also linked below is an example from LinguaFolio Junior that lists can-do statements for students in grades 3–5. Teachers can ask students to use a tool like this at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. It is important that students realize that learning is a cyclical process; exposure to a new concept does not mean fluency. Plenty of opportunity to practice the new concept is essential to achieve proficiency.

The second page of the LinguaFolio Junior handout, geared toward students in grades 6–8, is a worksheet for students to keep track of dates they accomplish certain tasks. After winter or summer breaks — or even a week after a lesson — students may be unable to demonstrate previous learning. This ongoing check-up reinforces the fact that language learning is a process that requires continual use of skills until they are mastered. This worksheet also demonstrates how LinguaFolio creates opportunities to help students maintain what they have learned. What is a motivating factor for the student also functions as an accountability factor for the teacher — who is then encouraged to provide more language production situations.

Sample interpretive listening self-assessment checklist (pdf)

Self-assessment grid (pdf)

LinguaFolio Junior samples (pdf)

Next: 1.7) Language Dossier