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The Embed Project (2009-2012) addressed the need for local samples of academic writing at the B and C levels of the CEFR by filtering student essays through a series of internal and external (international) panels of experts. This project shows the value and the feasibility of CEFR standardization procedures for teacher training purposes. The project has also shown the importance of making such materials available online, as busy teachers are not always able to attend all standardization sessions.


The key to the Embed Project has been to develop a structure whereby the generic CEFR descriptors are made meaningful at the local level. Examples of language from the samples gives teachers tangible evidence of positive and negative language features at various levels of the CEFR. Teachers can then make a direct relation between the language exhibited in the samples at a given level and the language used in the writing of their own students. The project defined language in the sample essays that typified Range, Accuracy, Coherence and Argument. These elements are dealt with in detail during standardization sessions with reference to these and other local samples.

The Language Centre uses these samples when delivering CEFR familiarization and standardization workshops at the University of Groningen and at other institutions.

A selection of Embed samples is also available online at


2 articles have recently been published about this project:

  • Haines, K.B.J., Schmidt, N., Jansema, P.N. and Lowie, W.M. (2013). EMBEDding the CEFR in academic writing assessment: a case study in training and standardization. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics 2, 1, pp 77-91.
  • Jansma, P.N., Jager, S., Lowie, W.M. & Haines K.B.J. (2011). De beoordeling van Engelstalige essays: het ERK in het universitair schrijfvaardigheidsonderwijs, Levende Talen Tijdschrift, 1, pp 15-25.
  • Lowie, W.M., Haines, K.B.J. & Jansma, P.N. (2010). Embedding the CEFR in the academic domain: Assessment of language tasks, Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 3, pp 152-161.
Last modified:25 January 2021 1.56 p.m.
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