Towards an Understanding of CLIL Assessment Practices in a European Context: Main Assessment Tools and the Role of Language in Content Subjects

Ana Otto, José Luis Estrada


Bilingual Education implies curricular integration along with new teaching procedures. However, a closer look at CLIL contexts shows that, very frequently, these new methodologies have not been integrated in assessment. This article provides a comprehensive overview of CLIL assessment practices in the context of the CAM Bilingual Program in Spain. More specifically, by using responses from two focus groups and comparing them with prior teachers’ questionnaires, the study examines the main assessment tools content teachers use in such settings, and the role that language plays in the learning of content subjects. The research findings provide relevant insights in relation with teacher training in bilingual schools and the absence of formative assessment in the context of the study. Therefore, written exams stand out as the most common assessment tool and, furthermore, the students’ language level is taken into account in grading the subject. On the basis on these results, a set of recommendations for the teachers in Bilingual Sections of Madrid are proposed.



CLIL; assessment; focus group; CAM Bilingual Project

Full Text:



Andrews, S. (2007). Teacher language awareness. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Ball. P., Kelly, K. & Clegg, J. (2015). Putting CLIL into Practice. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Clegg, J. (2012). Preface. In Quartapelle (ed.), Assessment and Evaluation in CLIL.

Coyle. D., Hood, P. & Marsh. D. (2010). CLIL: Content and Language Integrated

Learning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Dalton-Puffer, C. (2013). A Construct of Cognitive Discourse Functions for Conceptualising Content-language Integration in CLIL and Multilingual Education. In European Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), pp. 216-253.

García Laborda, J. y Fernández Álvarez, M. (2011). Teachers' opinions towards the integration of oral tasks in the Spanish University Examination. In International Journal of language studies, 5 (3), pp. 1-12.

Gondová, D. (2012). Identifying the Needs of CLIL Teachers at Lower and Upper Secondary Schools. In Journal of Interdisciplinary Philology, 3 (3), pp. 5-22.

Hönig, I. (2010). Assessment in CLIL: Theoretical and Empirical Research. Saarbrücken, Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller.

Järvinen, H. M. (ed.), (2009). Handbook: Language in Content Instruction. Turku, Finland: University of Turku. Retrieved from

Kelly, K. (2010). CLIL in natural science subjects: Language and task. In Ikastaria, 17, pp. 91-108.

Kelly, K. (2014). COOP E-CLIL. Retrieved from

Kiely, R. (2009). CLIL: The Question of Assessment. Retrieved from


Krueger, R. A. (1994). Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Krueger, R.A., & Casey, M.A. (2009). Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research (4th Ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

López-Medina, B. (2016). Developing a CLIL Textbook Evaluation Checklist. In Latin American Journal of Content & Language Integrated Learning. Vol. 9 (1), pp. 159-173.

Llinares, A., Morton, T. & Whittaker, R. (2012). The Roles of Language in CLIL.

Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Martín del Pozo, M. A. & Rascón Estébanez, D. (2015). Textbooks for Content and Language Integrated Learning: policy, market and appropriate didactic. In Foro de Educación, 13 (18), pp. 123-141. Retrieved from

Mohan, B. & Huang, J. (2002). Assessing the Integration of Language and Content in a Mandarin as a Foreign Language Classroom. In Linguistics and Education 13(3), pp. 407–35.

OECD (2014), TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Otto, A. (2018). Assessment in CLIL: The Balance between the Content and the Language. Madrid Bilingual Secondary Schools as a Case Study. Unpublished doctoral Dissertation. Universidad de Alcalá.

Otto, A. (2017). Assessment Issues in CLIL: What You’ve Been Wondering but Were Afraid to Ask. In RDIM, n.º 1, pp. 1-13. Retrieved from

Pavón, V. (2010). The introduction of multilingual teaching in Andalusia: heading towards a newly proposed methodology. In Journal of Border Educational Research, 8 (1), pp. 31-42.

Pavón, V. & Ellison, M. (2013). Examining Teachers’ Roles and Competences in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). In Linguarum Arena, vol. 4, pp. 65-78.

Rodríguez-Muñiz, L. J., Díaz, P, Mier, V., Alonso, P. (2016). Washback Effect of University Entrance exams in Applied Mathematics to Social Sciences. In PLoS ONE 11(12): e0167544.

Reierstam, H, (2015). Assessing Language or Content? A comparative study of the assessment practices in three Swedish upper secondary CLIL schools. (Licentiate thesis in Subject Matter Education at the Department of Education and Special Education). Gothenburg, Sweden: Faculty of Education, University of Gothenburg. Retrieved from

Serra, C. (2007). Assessing CLIL at Primary School: A Longitudinal Study. In International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 10:5, pp. 582- 602.

Serragiotto, G. E (2007). Assessment and Evaluation in CLIL. In D. Marsh & D. Wolff (eds.), Diverse Contexts- Converging Goals: CLIL in Europe, pp. 271-286. Frankfurt, Germany: Peter Lang.

Vaughn, S., Shay Schumm, J. & Sinagub, J. (1996). Focus Group Interviews in Education and Psychology. California, USA: SAGE.

Wewer, T. (2014). Assessment of young learners' English proficiency in bilingual content instruction CLIL (Doctoral Dissertation). Turku, Finland: University of Turku. Faculty of Education/Department of Teacher Education. Retrieved from

Zakharov, A., Carnoy, M., Loyalka, P. (2014). Which teaching practices improve student performance on high-stakes exams? Evidence from Russia. In International Journal of Educational Development, 36, pp. 13-21.

Zangl, R. (2000). Monitoring Language Skills in Austrian Primary (Elementary) Schools: A Case Study. In Language Testing, 17 (2), pp. 250-260.

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM
Copyright (c) 2019 Ana Otto, José Luis Estrada