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The Can-Do Statements

In a recent blog post, we discussed how you can measure anyone's language ability for each of the four language skills through a six-tired measurement system called the CEFR.

Can-Do What?

Now that we can measure language proficiency, it's important to know what can actually be done - in terms of listening, speaking, reading and writing - in each of the six levels.

What, for example, can an upper intermediate speaker do that an elementary speaker cannot?

This is where the ‘Can Do’ Statementsa are really useful. It’s goal is to develop and validate a set of performance-related scales, describing what learners can actually do in the foreign language.

Why are Can-Do Statements Useful?

The Can-Do Statements serve three key users:

  • For Academic Intitutions, the statements provide learning targets for curriculum and unit design, assessment selection and serving as progress indicators.

  • For Language Learners, the statements provide a way to chart their progress through incremental steps. The checklists are best used by learners and learning facilitators as part of an overall reflective learning process that includes: • setting goals • selecting strategies • self-assessing • providing evidence • reflecting before setting new goals.

  • For Corporations, Can-Do’s are useful defining what staff are capable of doing. And they can be used in a “benchmarking study” where the English skills needed to perform in the position at an acceptable level are determined. HR staff can the recruit or train to the position’s requiste proficicency levels.

Detailed Can-Do’s

Click here (and scroll to the bottom of the page) to see andl/or download a detailed Can-Do Statement for General Enlgish and also one for Business English.

What’s on Deck?

In future posts, we talk more about how corporation can ‘benchmark postions’ and we also discuss how much study time is needed to get to a particular CEFR level and corresponding Can-Do abilites.

About the Author

I’m the Managing Director at Vantage Siam, an authorized Cambridge English Exam Centre and management training firm.

We offer English language training via blended learning to both students and professionals in Thailand and also to remote learners throughout China.

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