The Practicality and Efficiency of Web-Based Placement Testing for College-Level Language Programs


  • 4

    Elizabeth B. Bernhardt (PhD, University of Minnesota) is Professor of German Studies and Director of the Language Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

  • 5

    Raymond J. Rivera (PhD candidate, Stanford University) is a research assistant at Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

  • 6

    Michael L. Kamil (PhD, University of Wisconsin) is Professor of Psychological Studies in Education, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.


Abstract: Articulation is one of the principal challenges of all foreign language programs. A key component of the articulation process is an assessment of student language abilities. On college and university campuses this process is usually conducted via a placement test. As developments in proficiency research have progressed, it is clear that programs need information about a student's grammatical command of a language as well as about their integrative use of the language specifically in speaking. This article examines the process of having students test online before their arrival on campus and provides insights into efficiencies brought about by such testing. The data for the article were generated by 679 learners of Spanish and 78 learners of German as well as by their 14 instructors and 2 language program directors.