Completed Projects

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.

More about C-tests

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.

More about C-tests

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.

Online bibliography

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.

Evaluation of Project-Based Language Learning Efforts

Investigators: AELRC, NFLRC

For the past eight years, the National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC) at the University of Hawai’i has highlighted Project-Based Language Learning (PBLL) in its offerings. AELRC researchers will collaborate with NFLRC colleagues to investigate the efficacy of their current PBLL efforts, identify best practices within their offerings, and provide input on ways to improve. This effort will allow us to update current frameworks, methods, and instruments. We will present findings at the annual ACTFL and local FL conferences, disseminate to community colleges, develop both a research brief and an applied research brief and produce both a short white paper and a publication in a refereed journal.

Current PBLL efforts

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.