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.


  Check back soon for information on new opportunities!


Workshop: STARTALK: Understanding the ACTFL Guidelines

  Online introduction: May 18-June 22
  Face-to-face workshop: June 27-29
  Location: Georgetown University, Washington, DC

“STARTALK: Understanding the ACTFL Guidelines” was 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 learned how to use and apply the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and the accompanying Modified Oral Proficiency Interview with a certified ACTFL OPI trainer!

First, participants reviewed a short, online introduction to the ACTFL Guidelines and the Modified Oral Proficiency Interview and responded to a quiz; activities included opportunities to learn about the ACTFL Guidelines, practice rating speech samples and setting goals for incorporating speaking proficiency activities in their classrooms. Next, participants came 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.

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

Workshop: Understanding Language Development through Formative Assessment

  Date: Saturday, April, 7, 2018
  Location: Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  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 covered key concepts in formative, classroom-based language assessment with a focus on how educators can integrate language assessment with daily instruction. The workshop provided educators with a foundational understanding of language assessment as well as principles and strategies for implementing assessment. Participants came away with an understanding of practical ways to use formative assessment to better understand students' language proficiency and their language development.

*Fees offset meal and refreshment costs.


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

ECOLT logo  Date: Thursday, October 19
  Location: Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  Facilitator: Sara Cushing, Georgia State University

Overview: In this hands-on workshop, we covered 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 discussed the role of the rating scale in writing assessment in terms of scoring validity (Shaw & Weir, 2007) and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of different types of rating scales (i.e., holistic vs. analytic scales). We generated our own criteria for scoring writing for a specific assessment purpose with a particular group of learners, and we experienced different methods of rating scale construction. We also used different published rating scales to evaluate second language writing samples and discussed the benefits and challenges of using different types of scales. We discussed best practices in training, monitoring, and providing feedback to raters in large-scale assessments and we discussed 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, Washington, DC

This workshop provided an overview of how to design and implement program evaluation in language programs. The facilitators showed:

  • 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.


Workshop: "Student Oral Proficiency Assessment"

Text logo for the Center for Applied Linguistics  Instructor: Lynn Thompson (Center for Applied Linguistics) and AELRC staff
  Date: September 24, 2016
                                                  Location: Georgetown University, Washington, DC

K-8 world languages instructors and researchers interested in K-8 language learners learned 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 received a set of standard tasks, a copy of the CAL K-8 Oral Proficiency Assessment Manual, and a certificate of completion. The facilitator introduced the two assessments, described how to use oral proficiency assessment to support and enhance instruction, and shared first-hand experiences working with the assessments. Lunch and a light breakfast were provided.

Workshop: "Useful Evaluation in Language Programs"

Stylized globe next to text reading DCPS Global Education  Leaders: Randi Dermo, Todd McKay, Mina Niu, Tyler True
  Date: 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.

Workshop: "Useful Evaluation in Language Programs"

Text logo for the AELRC with two overlapping flowers       Part of GURT 2016: Useful Assessment and Evaluation in Language Education
Leaders: John McE. Davis, Amy Kim, Todd McKay, Mina Niu, Young A Son, Francesca Venezia
Date: March 10, 2016

This was 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 learned 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.


Workshop: "The Basics of Assessment: Applying Proficiency-Based Approaches to the Classroom"

Michigan State University written above stylized CLEAR logo        Part of CLEAR Summer Workshops
  Instructor: Margaret Malone
  Date: July 20-22, 2015

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

Workshop: "Program Evaluation for Language Teacher Educators"

Stylized globe with CARLA written underneath        Part of the Ninth International Conference on Language Teacher Education
  Instructors: Margaret Malone, John McE. Davis 
  Date: May 14, 2015

Designed for language educators, this workshop provided 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.

Workshop: "Formative Assessment in Language Classrooms: Enhancing Teaching & Learning"

Two stylized people overlapping, reading CL LC        Part of the Conference on Language, Learning, and Culture: Next-Generation Assessment
  Instructor: John McE. Davis
  Date: April 11, 2015

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