Department of Linguistics awarded funding for researching language outcomes in intensive language study programs

October 1, 2023

In a globalizing, multilingual world, intensive language study opportunities, including study
abroad, are seen as essential for preparing students for success outside the classroom. But
how much language learning occurs during these experiences? And how can programs best
measure and track their impact on students’ language abilities?

With three years of funding totaling more than $300,000 from the U.S. Department of
Education’s International Research and Studies Program
, Georgetown University’s Department
of Linguistics will seek to answer these questions in the context of study abroad and intensive
language learning programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education through their well
known and popular Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) program.

FLAS students have studied more than 100 different languages via the approximately 1,800
annual fellowships offered by the Department of Education. Having access to quality
assessment data on student language learning outcomes is critical to maximizing the quality of
learning experiences, and ensuring that the time and resources devoted to such programs result in positive outcomes in language proficiency. To address this need, Georgetown’s new project, Understanding Outcomes for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship Programs, will generate comprehensive data about the ways that programs assess language development and provide recommendations for increasing the validity and reliability of assessments. Ultimately, this work will contribute to a larger goal of expanding U.S. national language capacity and multilingualism through study abroad.

Three Georgetown faculty members and experts in language learning and teaching are leading
this project: Director of the Assessment and Evaluation Language Resource Center (AELRC)
Meg Montee serves as Principal Investigator and Project Director. Alison Mackey, Professor
and Chair of the Department of Linguistics and Lara Bryfonski, Assistant Professor of Linguistics serve as Co-Principal Investigators. This new funding is part of the department’s ongoing work from multiple sources, six grants totaling over $1.9 million, to expand and improve world language education under the AELRC and its related projects.

AELRC Receives Language Resource Center Funding

January 24, 2023

Georgetown University’s Assessment and Evaluation Language Resource Center (AELRC) has been awarded a third grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI Language Resource Centers Program to support its mission of facilitating useful assessment and evaluation practices in foreign language education. With nearly $700,000 in renewed grant funding for 2022-2026, the AELRC will continue and expand its role as a leading innovator and resource provider for U.S. K-16 foreign language educators. 

The AELRC, founded in 2014, is directed collaboratively by researchers at Georgetown University, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), and ACTFL. Dr. Meg Montee, Associate Research Professor at Georgetown, serves as the Director. The AELRC is one of 16 Title VI Language Resource Centers that exist throughout the United States. 

The AELRC supports innovative foreign language programming through the creation of effective assessment and evaluation tools. The focus of the 2022-2026 grant cycle is the creation of new LCTL assessments in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Ukrainian, the creation of a digital resource library, and the development of robust professional development offerings and resources for world language teachers focused on strengthening their assessment and evaluation practices. Additionally, AELRC researchers will conduct a national study of K-16 language program articulation designed to overcome barriers to language study as students transition from high school to higher education. 

The LRC grant renewal will allow the AELRC to realize its project goals while staying committed to advancing equity in foreign language education by providing tailored resources and professional development opportunities to foreign language educators at community colleges and Minority Serving Institutions.