2014 INNOVATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN LANGUAGE PROGRAM EVALUATION

Permanent URI for this collection

Browse

Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 12
  • Item
    Reframing assessment: Innovation and accountability between the global and the local
    (Heinle Cengage Learning, 2014-01-01) Cachey Jr., Theodore J.
    This chapter highlights the roles and impact of assessment in a large multilingual department, from the experience and perspective of the chairperson. It argues for the value of useful assessment as a means of reframing the goals of language and culture programs and suggests that a more robust assessment culture might help languages and literatures to achieve the kind of reform that the Modern Languages Association called for in its widely discussed 2007 report “Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World.” The approach to assessment outlined here aims to be useful, sustainable, and not too burdensome for faculty members. How the assessment project was started, how it has focused on a selected outcome in each assessment cycle, what kind of tools have been used to collect data, and the ways in which the assessment process can lead to curricular adjustments are also described. The project has contributed to building mutual respect and collegiality across the lecturer and research faculty frontier; has proven to be an incubator of curricular innovation; and has helped faculty members, both individually and collectively, to become more effective advocates for the importance of the languages and literatures other than English within the humanities. Finally, the chapter argues that engaging in assessment requires engaging with the messy world of higher education as it is and not as we wish it might be.
  • Item
    Do we speak the same language?: The iterative development of an institutionally mandated foreign language assessment program
    (Heinle Cengage Learning, 2014-01-01) Myers, Lindsy ; Lindsay, Nathan
    This chapter describes the development and implementation of a dynamic and resourceful assessment program within a Foreign Language Department in response to a university-wide mandate. It outlines the assessment struggles and successes of a program from its inception, and explores the relationship between university requirements and the Foreign Language Department’s needs, skills, and goals. In particular, the chapter presents the policies, practices, and structures involved in this longitudinal project. Both positive and negative effects of a university template are outlined, including how the department is attempting to find its own voice and meaning in the process.
  • Item
    Foreign language course grades as prerequisites and programmatic game keepers
    (Heinle Cengage Learning, 2014-01-01) Brown, Alan Victor
    Stakeholders within and beyond the academy are eager to know to what extent FL programs are responsible for producing valuable student-learning outcomes that reflect not only curriculum-specific achievement but also classroom-independent, real-world proficiency. At the heart of the issue resides the ambiguous, nondescript, and somewhat idiosyncratic nature of course grades. This chapter reports, first, on a descriptive analysis of grade-based prerequisites as they appear in electronic undergraduate Spanish program catalogues at all 73 research-intensive public institutions, as classified by the Carnegie Foundation. The quantitative analysis includes descriptive statistics on the use of grade-based metrics as prerequisites for undergraduate courses, that is, previous course grade and grade point average (GPA). The qualitative analysis examined the language and logic used in specifying these prerequisites. Following this analysis, a correlational study of one of the 73 programs is presented that explores the relationship between students’ grades from all sections of two mandatory pre-major courses and their performance on an external measure of reading, speaking, and writing proficiency. Within this program, students must earn an A or a B in both courses before continuing with the Spanish major, so grades carry high-stakes consequences and serve as programmatic gatekeepers. The chapter concludes with general recommendations on how to sensibly approach program articulation, course prerequisites, and the nature and composition of university-level FL course grades.
  • Item
    Promoting change in the “two-tiered” departments: An exploratory evaluation of conflict and empowerment levels among language and literature faculty
    (Heinle Cengage Learning, 2014-01-01) Zannirato, Alessandro
    This chapter documents an exploratory evaluation, carried out at the national level on the organizational effects of the “two-tiered” system in departments of Foreign Languages and Literatures (FLL) in the United States. The author initiated and conducted the evaluation for the purposes of (a) gaining a better understanding of the organizational dynamics that may arise in two-tiered departments; (b) exploring solutions to the identified challenges; and (c) identifying a community of language and literature professionals in both first-tier and second-tier positions interested in addressing the issues raised by the MLA report in a more inclusive way. After a theoretical comparison of the two-tiered system with similar configurations described in the literature, the results of an exploratory study concentrating on the level of organizational conflict and empowerment in FLL departments will be presented. The findings suggest that conflict and disempowerment may be factors affecting the interactions between language and literature faculty. The users will be able to draw on the findings of this evaluation to (a) reflect on their local reality and identify structural factors that may be conflict generating and disempowering; (b) use the empowerment strategies suggested in this chapter as a starting point to devise their own strategies in order to reduce inequities in FLL departments; and (c) engage in further discussion with the evaluator, provide further input, discuss the creation of a working group equally representing first-tier and second-tier faculty, and collectively prioritize a plan of action.
  • Item
    From frameworks to oversight: Components to improving foreign language program efficacy
    (Heinle Cengage Learning, 2014-01-01) Klee, Carol ; Melin, Charlotte ; Soneson, Dan
    This chapter advocates the use of an aspirational framework for student-learning outcomes that aligns the intellectual content of general education objectives with the values expressed in the ACTFL National Standards for language study. Such an approach emphasizes the benefits to language programs that can be realized through clarity in expectations and the systematic, longitudinal evaluation of outcomes. It also has far-reaching policy implications for foreign language programs, which the authors explore. The chapter introduces and discusses a rubric that models the connections between linguistic and intellectual skills. In addition, outcomes benchmarks for most commonly taught languages and less commonly taught language groups are proposed. The involvement of faculty SLA experts (tenured or tenure-track) is seen as key to the process of effective curricular reform, which must also involve other faculty members and stakeholders in active collaboration to implement system-wide evaluation practices and ongoing curricular reform.