The Pennsylvania Foreign Language Research Project: Teacher Proficiency and Class Achievement in Two Modern Languages


  • Philip D. Smith Jr.

    Search for more papers by this author
    • 1

      Philip D. Smith, Jr. (Ph.D., Ohio State Univ.) is the Coordinator of the Center for Foreign Language Research and Services at West Chester State Coll. He has taught in the Nevada school system, where he was the State Supervisor for Foreign Languages, 1960–64. He was the Associate Director of the Univ. of Nevada NDEA Institute in 1963, 64, and 65. He has also taught at Ohio State Univ. Dr. Smith is the chairman of the ACTFL Committee on Research.


ABSTRACT: Since 1960 the MLA Foreign Language Proficiency Tests for Teachers and Advanced Students have been used to measure teacher achievement in language skills and allied professional areas. The tests are suggested as prerequisites for teacher certification In Pennsylvania, where the tests were mandatory from 1963 until 1969, a comparison was made between teachers' Proficiency Test scores and the subsequent achievement of their classes on standardized tests.

No important significant relationships occurred between eighty-nine French and German teachers' proficiency and class achievement after one year. No significant correlation could be found between teacher and student scores in forty classes after two years of French or German instruction with the same teacher nor in twelve intact German classes who maintained the same teacher through Level III Regression Analyses also failed to show that teacher Proficiency Test scores contributed substantially to individual student achievement. It is suggested that the MLA Proficiency Tests are valuable as advanced achievement measures or alternate criterion but should not be required for teacher certification until their contribution to student achievement is more fully defined.