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    Comment s'impliquer ?

Resources for assessing the home language competences of migrant pupils

This page will be available in English in 2024. Please refer to the pages in French for now.

Comment s'impliquer ?

Survey on assessment practices of home language competences

In 2021 and 2022 the Recolang project conducted a European survey to investigate and map the role of plurilingual pupils’ home languages at school, particularly within different education programmes or curricula involving adolescents with a migrant background aged 11-18. The survey focused on identifying and describing the practices of assessing home language skills and their role in different European education systems and beyond. The survey was composed of two strands aimed at different target audiences:

A strand aimed at pupils aged between 11 and 18 with a migrant background and who have one or more home languages other than the language(s) of the school.

A strand for schools and educational institutions, teaching and supervisory staff in schools, reception centres and organisations involved in initial and further professional development of teachers working with this age group (11-18 years). 

FULL SURVEY REPORT (add link to pdf)

Want to know more about the possibilities of including pupils’ home languages in assessment? Watch this knowledge clip on multilingualism in assessment.


Concrete objectives of the survey were to provide a better understanding of:


    ● whether and how pupils’ languages and cultures are taken into account in schools and for what educational purposes;
    ● how language skills and their uses can be recognised in relation to learner progress or to teacher professional development.


As very little research has been conducted internationally to grasp how home languages are assessed in different settings, we chose an exploratory design aimed at generating a tentative first analysis, collecting information from different settings and describing the main findings. The data were collected using an online survey amongst 164 institutions and 191 learners from 47 countries. The survey was open throughout 2021 and 2022.
Read more about how the survey was conducted

Untitled Document

What pupils say about their home languages in the school context

In the survey, learners were stimulated to share their opinions about what schools do – or do not do – with their home languages and what they would wish from schools in relation to the development of their multiple languages. The following quotes exemplify what learners have stated.



"I hope to get an assessment of the languages I speak and hope to develop them further to facilitate my future and the job I will be working in."

This Turkish-speaking pupil claims that when home languages are assessed this leads to a higher degree of literacy in the languages and that each language should be considered equally important. In his view, assessment could even contribute to decreasing prejudices against certain languages:



Other pupils just wish for opportunities to study their home languages within mainstream education, like this Bulgarian-speaking pupil in the Dutch setting:


And finally, there are learners that reflect on the fact that their home language is taught as a foreign language in their current school, without any adjustment for the fact that the student is a native speaker:

Conclusions from both survey strands

    ● There is reduced space for assessment of plurilingual pupils’ home languages.
    ● Ad hoc practices in home language assessment are extremely common.
    ● The degree of schools’ involvement with pupils’ home languages is very much dependent on individual stakeholders’ (e.g. teachers, coordinators) own personal interest.
    ● There is a mismatch between the use of home languages in and outside of the classroom.
    ● There is a general interest on the part of plurilingual pupils in one another’s languages and cultures.
    ● There is a great family and learner investment in maintaining home languages.
    ● There is a mismatch between learners’ wishes in relation to home language use at school and how schools engage with pupils’ home languages.
    ● Pupils have high ambitions in relation to their proficiency in the home

Implications from the survey strands

    ● More training and knowledge on the importance of assessing pupils’ home languages is needed in schools. With a few exceptions, this was pointed out in the institutions’ strand and the answers of the pupils confirm the lack of awareness, materials and knowledge on home language assessment.
    ● A set of evidence-based principles for the assessment of home languages across Europe should be developed and shared among institutions. This could lead to a decrease in ad hoc assessment mainly focused on assessing the language(s) of schooling languages for placement reasons.
    ● Cooperation between countries should be facilitated in order to collect and share different types of instruments to assess various skills in the home languages, for various age groups.
    ● The gap between what happens at schools, where a majority of pupils claim that their languages are not taken into account and the strong desire of these same pupils to continue learning their languages should explicitly be addressed.
View extra findings from the survey