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Planning for assessment in language programs: A practical tool

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Title: Planning for assessment in language programs: A practical tool
Issue Date: 12 Mar 2015
Description: East Timor declared independence from Portugal in 1975 and was then immediately invaded and occupied by Indonesia. After three decades of resistance, it was declared a sovereign nation in 2002. Currently, the two official languages are Portuguese and Tetun, and the working languages are English and Indonesian. However, there are 15-25 local languages spoken throughout the country, which do not have official status. These language policies, combined with lingering effects of the societal disruption from the Indonesian occupation, have created complicated problems for the education system. Low achievement and high dropout rates indicate that overlooking the critical issue of mother tongue language and educational access has had very serious repercussions. To address this, in 2011 the Ministry of Education approved a trial program to use mother tongue language curriculum and instruction in select test schools.

Because many of the languages of East Timor had little or no documentation, the most immediate benefit of this program was the proliferation of language descriptions and the development of pedagogies and materials in local languages. Intended benefits are the increase in literacy among primary-school-aged children, however, because of poor assessment planning, this goal has been more difficult to evaluate. This is a common problem among many language programs, and the current paper proposes to address this problem by providing an assessment toolkit that investigates multiple levels of stakeholder satisfaction, as well as traditional assessment of literacy benchmarks. The goal of this assessment toolkit is to be an accessible resource for other members of the language conservation and revitalization community to use by being broadly applicable to diverse situations, requiring minimal training and facilitating clear, unbiased analysis.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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