Completed Projects

Jump to: Test Development | Professional Development | Research Dissemination | Evaluation

Test Development

AAPL(Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages)

Investigators: AELRC, NHLRCNCSSFL Georgetown and ACTFL have worked to identify the most critical languages to add to ACTFL’s AAPPL assessment via census data and surveys of the field. This project will support future efforts to help students meet the Seal of Biliteracy. Read our research brief for an accessible overview of current Seal of Biliteracy research.

More about AAPPL >

Study of high-impact student learning outcomes assessment factors

Investigators: Nic Subtirelu, Margaret Borowczyk, Montgomery CollegeUGAUConnGlastonbury [CT] Public SchoolsNCSSFL Dr. Subtirelu has conducted research to investigate national and local efforts to promote the Seal of Biliteracy; the impact of the Seal on enrollment in and articulation to foreign language courses; and the degree to which the Seal is accessible to groups whose existing language abilities often go unrecognized or who have not been adequately represented in foreign language education. This research will lead to the development of materials for ensuring that the Seal of Biliteracy is implemented in a way that expands opportunities for language study, promotes rigorous assessment of language skills, and effectively highlights the value that foreign language learners and heritage language users can offer to employers and higher education institutions. Read our research brief for an accessible overview of current Seal of Biliteracy research.

More about Seal of Biliteracy work >

Short-cut estimates of foreign language proficiency for research purposes

Investigator: John M. Norris
The project culminated in publication of 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.

Developing a Chinese C-test for Research Purposes

Investigators: Yiran Xu, Todd McKay, Meg Malone
This project developed and validated a short-cut proficiency measure of Mandarin. Domain experts, Mandarin native speakers, and learners of Mandarin were included in the development stages for feedback and quality control. Think-aloud data were collected to inform native and learner processes of linguistic items. The results of the C-test were further correlated with learners’ performance on OPIc and the ACTFL reading test. Five optimal texts of high reliability, good separation indices and fit statistics were selected to inform future L2 research.

Professional Development

Consortium on Useful Assessment in Languages and Humanities Education (CUALHE)

Investigator: AELRC
This conference served as a vehicle to bring foreign language education stakeholders together and create opportunities for disciplinary dialogue on topics related to student learning outcomes assessment. Project work included an annual summit on student learning outcomes assessment in college foreign language programs, with round tables on best practices, paper/poster sessions, and colloquia addressing student learning outcomes assessment in college foreign language education.

Heritage Language Assessment Module

The Heritage Language Assessment Module launched in spring of 2021 and was developed as an additional component of the Understanding Assessment Tutorial. This module focuses on selecting assessments for heritage language programs, and it is designed for educators working in K-12 heritage language classes, community-based heritage language schools, and university-level heritage language courses.

Heritage Language Assessment Module >

Post-Secondary World Language Assessment Module

We are excited to announce the launch of the Post-Secondary World Language Assessment Module! This module is another component of the Understanding Assessment Tutorial that focuses on planning for and selecting assessments for post-secondary world language courses and programs. It is designed for educators working in any post-secondary context, including public/private colleges and universities, community colleges, and other community-based adult education settings.

Post-Secondary World Language Module >

Workshop on Language Assessment and Understanding: Application and Use

Investigator: Meg Montee, Meg Malone
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 left this workshop with an understanding of practical ways to use formative assessment to better understand students’ language proficiency and their language development.

Research Dissemination

Examining the Differential Difficulty of Languages

Investigators: Meg Malone, Yiran Xu, Vashti Lee, Charlene Polio (MSU) To date, claims of differential difficulty have neither been substantiated through empirical research nor fully supported in the SLA literature. This pilot study represents an initial attempt to investigate these claims via both quantitative and qualitative methods, examining 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. Results show that the principal differences emerge in reading scores across languages, while speaking results are slightly higher in Spanish than in the other languages. Dr. Charlene Polio, a colleague of the AELRC, gave an invited talk on this project at Cornell University in April, 2019.

Heritage Teacher Perceptions Article

Investigators: Meg Montee, Anne Donovan, John Chi, Meg Malone
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.

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

Investigators: John McE. Davis, Young A Son
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. Results were disseminated at conferences of relevant educators such as CUALHE and ACTFL.

Review of evaluation and assessment in heritage language learning

Investigators: Young A Son, Amy Kim
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.


Evaluation planning and capacity building in self-access language learning labs/centers

Investigators: John McE. Davis, Todd McKay
The project sought 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 was to identify best educational practices for university and college language labs.

Seal of Biliteracy Support

Investigators: Malik Stevenson, Francesca Venezia, Olivia Stevens
The AELRC conducted research on how the Seal of Biliteracy impacts students as they transition from high school to higher education. We collected data through a survey and interviews with various stakeholders including students, university language instructors, university admissions officers, high school counselors, high school language teachers, and high school and district world language supervisors/coordinators from California, North Carolina, and Illinois (the 3 states with the most Seal recipients in 2018-2019). Through this study, we hoped to better understand how receiving the Seal impacts students as they apply to college and take university-level language courses.

Survey of K-12 program evaluation needs

The AELRC conducted a study of K-12 world language program evaluation. This national study, which included both focus group interviews and a questionnaire, gathered information from teachers and administrators about their experiences with and perceptions of world language program evaluation in their schools. The goal of this study was to investigate teachers’ and administrators’ experiences with K-12 world language program evaluation in order to begin to determine their needs. The results of this study were published in a 2023 article in Foreign Language Annals.

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