Center for Language Education and Research > Resources > Newsletter > Archived Issues > Can-do statements for a basic language program

Can-do statements for a basic language program

The following is an excerpt from this issue of the CLEAR newsletter.  Please click the link below to read the full article.

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

Download and read the entire newsletter (pdf)

Archived Issues

Follow Us

LRC Portal

Find us on Facebook