Current Projects

Test Development

Project Title Description                                                                                       Investigator(s)

Developing a Chinese C-test for Research Purposes

The project aims to develop and validate a short-cut proficiency measure of Mandarin. Domain experts, native speakers of Mandarin and learners of Mandarin are included in the development stages for feedback and quality control. Think-aloud data are being collected to inform native and learner processes of linguistic items. The results of the C-test will be correlated with learners’ performance on OPIc and the ACTFL reading test.

Yiran Xu, Todd McKay, Meg Malone

Short-cut estimates of foreign language proficiency for research purposes: Korean

After extensive planning, data collection and analysis, a report of the Korean C-test has been published in a volume with other languages (Arabic, French, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Bangla, and Turkish). These short-cut measures are designed to assess foreign language learners' global language proficiency for L2 research purposes. Read more in J. M. Norris (Ed.), Developing C-tests for estimating proficiency in foreign language research.

Young A Son, Amy Kim, Eunyoung Cho and John McE. Davis

IPIC (Intercultural Pragmatic Interactional Competence Assessment)

This project aims to develop, pilot, and validate a digital simulation instrument to help educators assess second language learners' pragmatic, interactional, and intercultural competence. Through scenarios with varying degrees of social and individual factors (e.g., gender, social distance, power), the assessment tool hopes to reflect the ​individualized, multilingual interactions learners are likely to engage in real life.​ The IPIC project is a partnership with the Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS) at the University of Oregon.

Meg Malone (AELRC), Aysenur Sagdic (AELRC), Linda Forrest (CASLS), Julie Sykes (CASLS)


Professional Development

Project Title Description                                                                                       Investigator(s)

Assessment for Language Instructors: The Basics

Through the AELRC, CAL offers a free online training course that teaches world language instructors about the fundamentals of assessment. The asynchronous course provides world language instructors with an understanding of the fundamentals of assessment by presenting specific examples of how each applies to real classroom assessment situations. The course lasts five weeks and includes five units that require two hours each. Units focus on: (1) an introduction to assessment, (2) validity, (3) reliability, (4) practicality, and (5) impact.

Anne Donovan (CAL), Meg Montee (CAL)

Workshop on Language Assessment and Understanding: Application and Use

This hands-on assessment workshop covers key concepts in formative, classroom-based language assessment with a focus on how educators can integrate language assessment with daily instruction. The workshop will provide educators with a foundational understanding of language assessment as well as principles and strategies for implementing assessment. Participants will come away with an understanding of practical ways to use formative assessment to better understand students' language proficiency and their language development.

Meg Montee (CAL), Meg Malone

STARTALK: Understanding the ACTFL Guidelines

The goal of this project is to work with instructors of critical languages in community colleges and higher education to take part in a professional development workshop on how to incorporate the ACTFL Guidelines into teaching and assessment. The project promotes FL educators' understanding of ACTFL proficiency levels, which in turn, can improve curricular design and implementation. This is the second time the project has been funded.

Meg Malone, Amy Kim, Yiran Xu, Aysenur  Sagdic


Research Dissemination

Project Title Description                                                                                       Investigator(s)

Difficulty Study

To date, claims of differential difficulty have neither been substantiated through empirical research nor fully supported in the SLA literature.  Although such claims are difficult to test empirically, this study represents an initial attempt to investigate these claims via both quantitative and qualitative methods. Our pilot study examines the progress of complete beginners in a summer university-level immersion program that included a promise to use the target language (Chinese, Russian or Spanish) exclusively. Participants took standard, large scale listening, reading, and oral interview (OPI) tests after six to seven weeks of study. Interviews with instructors and directors, as well as classroom observations, were conducted to determine the comparability of instruction across languages and how perceptions of language difficulty influenced instruction.

Meg Malone, Yiran Xu, Charlene Polio (MSU)

Updating Existing Bibliographies

We aim to provide an up-to-date list of publications related to the assessment and evaluation of heritage language learners.  

Amy Kim

Heritage Teacher Perceptions Article

This study investigates language teachers' perceptions of heritage language learners on a large scale using survey methodology. The study is inclusive of teachers of different grade levels, of different types of classrooms, and different languages. By looking at a wide array and large number of participants (N=325) this study provides robust data to answer the overarching question: How do language teachers perceive their HLLs in the classroom? Using both qualitative and quantitative data from the survey, the findings will provide insight on teachers’ views of heritage language learners’ dialects, their expectations of the learners, and the assessment needs of the learners, as well as their overall perceptions of the learners. A manuscript is currently in preparation for publication.

John Chi

Patterns of assessment capacity in community college language programs: Current needs and future strategies

Community colleges play an important role in educating post-secondary language students, yet little research has focused on how recent requirements for evaluation and assessment are impacting language instruction at two-year institutions. This paper, presented at the CUALHE 2015 annual meeting and conference, addressed patterns of assessment capacity and use in community college language programs and sought to identify strategies for future assessment capacity-building at local and national levels.

John McE. Davis, Young A Son

Developing C-Tests for Estimating Proficiency in Foreign Language Research

Founding co-director John Norris has published a book on C-test development for eight different foreign languages in US university settings, stemming from research conducted through the AELRC. The chapters each describe in detail the development process - including text identification, selection, deletion strategies, piloting with L1 native speakers and college-level foreign language learners, and data analysis - tailored to each language. The languages included are Arabic, Bangla, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish.

John M. Norris, Todd H.

McKay, Young A Son



These projects served as the foregrounding of AELRC’s current and ongoing research and test development work.

Project Title Description                                                                                       Investigator(s)

Short-cut estimates of foreign language proficiency for research purposes

The project aimed to develop, pilot, and validate five C-tests for estimating global proficiency in Arabic, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, and Turkish (with plans for developing two additional tests in Bangla and Korean). The intended use of each instrument is to assess global language proficiency for L2 research purposes.

John M. Norris

Student learning outcomes assessment in community/junior college language education: Trends in capacity and use

The purpose of the project was to learn more about the patterns of program assessment/evaluation activity and levels of support in US community college foreign language programs. Data was collected via a national questionnaire in order to better understand how program assessment can be a useful activity that impacts teaching and learning in productive ways.

John McE. Davis
Evaluation planning and capacity building in self-access language learning labs/centers  The project seeks to understand and develop approaches to evaluation capacity building, logic model development, and situational analysis for college language laboratory/self-access centers. A key purpose of the study is to identify best educational practices for university and college language labs.  

John McE. Davis, Todd McKay

Review of evaluation and assessment in heritage language learning

The purpose of this project was to offer a general overview of studies that focus on both research and examples of practice focused on implementing assessment and evaluation of heritage language learners and heritage language education programs. It also intended to highlight issues persistent in the heritage language learning literature.

Young A Son