Sustainable assessment formats in language teaching: portfolio-based

Category: Research
Thursday 4th April 2024
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by: PebblePad

Published Paper Title

Towards sustainable assessment formats in language teaching: testing integrated skills with portfolio-based tasks


Marion Coderch, Durham University, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)

Laura Lewis, Durham University


Enhancing Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Vol. 1 2024, 29 February 2024


This paper presents the experience of implementing a portfolio-based assessment system to evaluate integrated language and transferable skills in German and Spanish language modules at level C1.

Conducted during the academic year 2022-23 at Durham University, these modules form part of the institution’s language provision catering to students from various disciplines. The assessment approach prioritizes flexibility and choice, allowing students to compile a portfolio of work reflecting the experiences of individuals living in countries where the target language is spoken. This system comprises both formative and summative submissions, fostering a continuous cycle of assessment for learning and assessment as learning.

Each submission integrates diverse language skills alongside transferable skills such as decision-making, autonomy, creativity, critical thinking, and intercultural knowledge. Moreover, the emphasis on developing these skills aligns with the principles of education for sustainable development. The paper concludes with reflections on the efficacy of the assessment system and areas for future improvement.


Our research underscores the effectiveness of employing PebblePad for a portfolio-based assessment model, showcasing its utility in developing and evaluating integrated language and transferable skills in German and Spanish language modules. As evidenced by student feedback, PebblePad facilitated a seamless process, with students displaying confidence in navigating the platform and minimal need for technical assistance. While initial setup and preparation required time investment, the subsequent marking and feedback processes via PebblePad proved user-friendly and efficient.

Click here to view the research paper (PDF)

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