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The usefulness of accreditation-mandated outcomes assessment in college foreign language education

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Item Summary

Title: The usefulness of accreditation-mandated outcomes assessment in college foreign language education
Authors: Davis, John McEwan
Keywords: accreditation
accountability
outcomes assessment
language education
Issue Date: Dec 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2012]
Abstract: This dissertation investigated the extent to which accreditation-mandated assessment capacity contributes to assessment use in tertiary foreign language (FL) programs. Four research questions were posed to pursue this concern: What is the nature and extent of assessment capacity in college FL programs? Which assessment uses are occurring in college FL programs? What is the relationship between assessment capacity and assessment use in college FL programs? What is the relationship between accreditation-mandated assessment capacity and assessment use in college FL programs?
Information on assessment activity was collected from 100 FL programs using an online questionnaire. FL educator informants supplied information on how assessment has been used in the program (both assessment findings and processes), as well as information on assessment capacity, including existing institutional assessment support, policies/governance patterns, assessment infrastructures, program-level resources, assessment-related leadership, program ethos, assessment-related collaboration and communication, and additional high-quality assessment-related activities and conditions.
Findings suggest that (a) assessment capacity is highly variable in FL education programs, tending toward being more absent than present, though a number of programs have robust capacity; (b) most programs use assessment for meeting accreditation and institutional requirements, though some use assessment toward increased educational understanding, development, and improvement; (c) the types of assessment capacity most likely to result in improvement-oriented assessment uses are assessment communication and collaboration, program ethos, and other high-quality assessment activities/conditions; and (d) capacity types strongly defined by accreditation assessment mandates (i.e., institutional assessment support and policies/governance patterns) do not have a strong relationship with formative assessment use.
The study makes three main contributions to research knowledge on outcomes assessment washback in college FL programs. First, there is a better understanding of the general assessment capacity elements (an overall assessment capacity framework) needed for productive assessment uses in FL education. Second, the study sheds light on specific capacity elements ostensibly most able to induce assessment use: namely, those elements associated with internally-driven desires for inquiry and change originating within FL programs. Finally, the study shows that institutionally-driven assessment capacity--by itself--is largely unable to create the needed conditions and dispositions for transformative assessment use in FL programs.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/100898
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Second Language Studies



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