Professional Development

AELRC logo with a pink flower overlapping a blue flower

AELRC provides outreach and training for developing foreign language educators' capacities to engage in useful language assessment and program evaluation. Check below to find out about upcoming webinars, online courses, instructional videos, workshops, institutes, and conferences.



Do you teach Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Dari, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu at a two-year or four-year institution of higher education (community college, four-year college or university)?

Would you like to participate in FREE workshop to learn to conduct modified oral proficiency interviews (ACTFL MOPI)?

Join the AELRC this summer!

“STARTALK: Understanding the ACTFL Guidelines” is a hybrid workshop designed for language instructors from community colleges and other institutions of higher education to participate in action-based research on the influence of this workshop on their professional practices. Participants will learn how to use and apply the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and the accompanying Modified Oral Proficiency Interview with a certified ACTFL OPI trainer!

First, participants will review a short, online introduction to the ACTFL Guidelines and the Modified Oral Proficiency Interview and respond to a quiz; activities will include opportunities to learn about the ACTFL Guidelines, practice rating speech samples and setting goals for incorporating speaking proficiency activities in their classrooms. Next, participants will come to Georgetown University June 27-29 to work with a certified ACTFL trainer to learn to conduct interviews and incorporate proficiency-based activities in their language classrooms. During September, November, and January, participants will respond to short questionnaires and participate in interviews (Zoom or face-to-face) on the influence of this professional development for participants, their students, and their professional growth.

May 18-June 22: Online introduction (Online)
June 27-29: Face-to-face workshop (Face-to-face)

Apply online here.

Limited travel funds (up to $600 of pre-approved expenses with appropriate receipts) for out-of-town attendees.


Workshop: Understanding Language Development through Formative Assessment

Date: Saturday, April, 7, 2018

Location: Georgetown University

Facilitators: Meg Malone, Georgetown University, AERLC; Meg Montee, Center for Applied Linguistics, AELRC

Workshop Goal: Build on educators’ knowledge and tools so that they can effectively use classroom-based formative assessment to understand and document their students’ language growth and development.

Workshop Topics: 

  • Key concepts in classroom-based formative assessment
  • Integration of instruction and assessment
  • Principles and strategies for formative assessment, with a focus on performance-based tools
  • Role of formative assessment in understanding and monitoring student language development

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.

*Fees will offset meal and refreshment costs.


ECOLT Pre-Conference Workshop: Developing and using rating scales for writing assessment

Date: Thursday, October 19

Location: Georgetown University

Facilitator: Sara Cushing, Georgia State University

Overview: In this hands-on workshop we will cover fundamental considerations for developing and using rating scales for writing assessment, both in classroom settings and for large-scale tests. In the first part of the workshop we will discuss the role of the rating scale in writing assessment in terms of scoring validity (Shaw & Weir, 2007) and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different types of rating scales (i.e., holistic vs. analytic scales). We will generate our own criteria for scoring writing for a specific assessment purpose with a particular group of learners and we will experience different methods of rating scale construction. We will also use different published rating scales to evaluate second language writing samples and discuss the benefits and challenges of using different types of scales. We will discuss best practices in training, monitoring, and providing feedback to raters in large-scale assessments and we will discuss how rating scales can be used in classrooms to both lessen teachers’ marking load, provide useful feedback to students, and make use of self and peer assessment.

Workshop: Useful Assessment and Evaluation in Language Education: Spring 2017 

Date: May 6, 2017

Location: Georgetown University

This workshop will provide an overview of how to design and implement program evaluation in language programs. The facilitators will show:

  • How to plan useful evaluations in language programs; 
  • How to identify evidence, or "indicators", of program quality, effectiveness, needs, and student learning;
  • Appropriate use of common tools for collecting evaluation information: interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires; and
  • Time frames and needed capacity for implementing evaluation in language programs and institutions.

For registration information, click here.



Text logo for the Center for Applied Linguistics

Workshop: "Student Oral Proficiency Assessment"

Lynn Thompson (Center for Applied Linguistics) and AELRC staff (September 24, 2016)

K-8 world languages instructors and researchers interested in K-8 language learners will learn how to use two assessments developed by CAL: the Student Oral Proficiency Assessment (SOPA) and the Early Language Listening and Oral Proficiency Assessment (ELLOPA). Participants will receive a set of standard tasks, a copy of the CAL K-8 Oral Proficiency Assessment Manual, and a certificate of completion. The facilitator will introduce the two assessments, describe how to use oral proficiency assessment to support and enhance instruction, and share first-hand experiences working with the assessments. Lunch and a light breakfast will be provided. Find more information here.

Stylized globe next to text reading DCPS Global Education

Workshop: "Useful Evaluation in Language Programs"
Randi Dermo, Todd McKay, Mina Niu, Tyler True (May 6, 2016)

District of Columbia Public Schools instructors learned to plan and implement assessment throughout the curricular cycle in K-12 world languages contexts. French, Italian, Mandarin, and Spanish instructors discussed their experiences, planned assessments for example scenarios, and brainstormed ways to apply formative and summative performance assessment in their own classrooms.

Text logo for the AELRC with two overlapping flowersWorkshop: "Useful Evaluation in Language Programs"
GURT 2016: Useful Assessment and Evaluation in Language Education
John McE. Davis, Amy Kim, Todd McKay, Mina Niu, Young A Son, Francesca Venezia (March 10, 2016)

This is an introductory workshop meant for language educators new to program evaluation and looking to learn practical techniques to implement in their courses or programs. Participants will learn to plan useful evaluations, state effective evaluation questions, identify indicators for evaluation questions, identify appropriate data-collection methods, and initiate 'next steps' in the evaluation process.


Michigan State University written above stylized CLEAR logoWorkshop: "The Basics of Assessment: Applying Proficiency-Based Approaches to the Classroom"
CLEAR Summer Workshops
Margaret Malone, (July 20-22, 2015)

This workshop will allow language instructors to learn about the basic principles of assessment (reliability, validity, practicality and wash back) and how these principles apply to busy language classrooms. Participants will develop proficiency-based tasks to use with their own students.

Stylized globe with CARLA written underneathWorkshop: "Program Evaluation for Language Teacher Educators"
Ninth International Conference on Language Teacher Education
Margaret Malone, John McE. Davis (May 14, 2015)

Designed for language educators, this workshop provides an overview of current approaches to language program development and how evaluation can help language instructors maintain program quality and identify areas for growth and improvement.

Two stylized people overlapping, reading CL LCWorkshop: "Formative Assessment in Language Classrooms: Enhancing Teaching & Learning"
Conference on Language, Learning, and Culture: Next-Generation Assessment
John McE. Davis (April 11, 2015)

This workshop provides an introduction to learning-oriented assessment in language education classrooms. Participants will learn how formative/learning-oriented assessment techniques can be used to better understand and improve classroom language teaching as well as enhance student learning.