Ongoing Assessment of a University Foreign Language Program

Authors

  • Thomas J. Mathews,

    1. Weber State University
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      Thomas J. Mathews (PhD, University of Delaware) is an Associate Professor of Spanish at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah.

  • Cheryl M. Hansen

    1. Weber State University
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      Cheryl M. Hansen (PhD, University of Utah) is an Associate Professor of French at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah.


Abstract

Abstract: This paper reviews the process a university foreign language department went through in developing a procedure to assess its curriculum using the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and, to a lesser extent, the National Standards, as guiding principles (National Standards, 1996). This procedure included a noncredit workshop that met only once to inform students about the process, an oral proficiency test, and a portfolio of students' written work. Rubrics for evaluation are described. Tables show preliminary results for the first year's assessment. It was found that the average oral proficiency rating for graduating seniors was Advanced-Low and that 74% rated Intermediate-High or better. Similarly, the average written proficiency rating was Advanced-Low. Students also presented material that documented their abilities to analyze literary texts, write in a variety of styles, and demonstrate an awareness of target language culture.

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