Here is an interesting article about can-do, or ‘mastery’, statements used outside ELT. The author of the blog gives examples from computing, history and science, and his criticism is directed at ‘the illusion of absolutes’ that can-dos produce.
For example, what exactly do we mean when we say, ‘I can state that sound is produced by vibrations’? Or, applying this to ELT: ‘I can write an email to my friend’? How long is the email? What is it about? How close is the friend and how well does he/she speak English?
Also, two other aspects to consider:
- Implausible scale of meaningful tracking (to fully assess a major can-do would require a serious testing procedure)
- Persistent creation of false numerical scales. (‘developing’ knowledge, ‘secure’ or ‘advanced’?)
What an imprecise art, teaching.