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As described by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), Can-Do statements are simple self-assessment statements for learners to determine not what they know about language but what they can do with language. An example of a Can-Do benchmark statement for Intermediate-Mid proficiency is the following:

“I can participate in conversations on familiar topics using sentences and series of sentences. I can handle short social interactions in everyday situations by asking and answering a variety of questions. I can usually say what I want to say about myself and my everyday life.”

Anyone familiar with the ACTFL proficiency guidelines will immediately recognize this as a brief version of what an Intermediate-Mid speaker can do in interpersonal contexts. It is a broad statement, to be sure. When used in a language program, such statements can be useful for self-assessment upon program exit or to see if one is meeting a particular level of ability for some other purpose (e.g., job, study abroad, field research). Such statements are not particularly useful, however, for evaluation in a basic language course. ACTFL offers more specific Can-Do statements to isolate particular aspects of Intermediate-Mid proficiency, but as we will see later it may make more sense to take the spirit of Can-Do statements and formulate tasks that are context and curriculum specific

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