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Understanding the Relationship Between Language Performance and University Course Grades



This article presents preliminary data correlating students' scores on measures of speaking, listening, and reading with their grades in Spanish courses. As might be expected, students with higher grades generally scored higher on performance assessments than did classmates with lower course grades. However, large score ranges resulted within a single letter grade. In addition, some students with low course grades scored rather well on certain measures of performance while some students with high course grades had low scores. In sum, the relationship between course grades, GPA, and performance level as evidenced by these data were far from predictable and underscored the need for (1) more research using a variety of methodologies, and (2) more careful alignment of course grades with demonstrated abilities to use language in interpretive and interpersonal settings.