Learning, Teaching and Assessment of Second Foreign Languages: An Alignment Study on Oral Language

Project leader


Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2016
End date: 31/12/2018
Funding: 7477000 SEK


The purpose of this project is examine interactions and alignment between learning, teaching and assessment of second foreign languages (SFL) in order to gain a better understanding of conditions and learning outcomes in foreign languages other than English in the Swedish school context. The focus is on Spanish, French and German in the 9th grade of secondary school and on an essential but under-researched aspect of SFL competence, namely oral language proficiency (OLP). The project is motivated by the fact that SFLs are currently in a challenging situation in the Swedish school context. One third of pupils abandon the subject within the first three years of studying. SFLs are therefore at the centre of a political debate focusing on its future status in school. A major drawback in this debate is, however, the lack of empirical underpinnings. We know very little about current learning conditions and outcomes, which has been pointed out by the 2014survey report commissioned by the Committee for Educational Sciences (Ämnesöversikt 2014: Utbildningsvetenskap). The authors of this report call for educational research in many school subjects, but especially for research into the teaching and learning of FLs other than English, where classroom oriented research and research on younger language learners are mainly lacking (p.14). The project is framed within the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) (Council of Europe, 2001) and adopts a cross-disciplinary perspective to OLP, drawing on current research within educational science, second language acquisition, language teaching and language testing and assessment. A central aim of the project is to identify and understand combinations of factors at different levels (individual, classroom, school, society) that contribute to success with OLP in SFLs in the Swedish school context. We also aim to establish the pupils´ level of OLP in French, German and Spanish and to relate these findings to the European CEFR proficiency levels. A combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods will be used in order to collect data. Data collection will take place in two steps. In order to select a number of schools for further research, we will at step one use a general questionnaire, which will be sent out to a large number of secondary schools in Sweden. During year two of the project, we will visit thereby selected target schools and their 9th grade SFL classes on two occasions to collect data relevant to the learning, teaching and assessment of OLP, once in the beginning of the school year (autumn term) and once at the end (spring term). On a national level, the project can contribute to on-going political discussions on obligatory SFL in secondary school. Furthermore, the project will add to the recent European Survey of Language Comptence (2011) which did not include OLP. Lastly the project will be of importance to policy makers, schools, language teachers and to the pupils themselves since we aim to identify combinations of factors contributing to success with SFLs in the Swedish school system.

External Partners

Last updated on 2017-26-07 at 10:08