Multiple-Language Program Assessment: Learners' Perspectives on First- and Second-Year College Foreign Language Programs and Their Implications for Program Improvement

By Rivera, Gladys M.; Matsuzawa, Chie | Foreign Language Annals, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview

Multiple-Language Program Assessment: Learners' Perspectives on First- and Second-Year College Foreign Language Programs and Their Implications for Program Improvement


Rivera, Gladys M., Matsuzawa, Chie, Foreign Language Annals


Abstract:

A pilot study was designed to examine student perspectives on the first two years of the foreign language program at an east coast college. The study addresses key areas of foreign language teaching and learning in terms of goals and objectives, effectiveness of instruction and instructional approach, and student suggestions for improvement. The survey's findings indicate that the program generally meets the needs and interests of the students; however, these findings call for a clearer articulation of program goals in culture and careful review of some instructional methods. They also reveal critical differences in learning priorities and learning styles between students in commonly taught languages and those in less commonly taught languages. This article discusses plausible explanations for the survey findings and makes recommendations for program improvement.

Key words: learner input, learner variables, program assessment

Language: Relevant to all languages

Introduction

Program assessment includes a combination of diverse factors, not just those related to courses or curriculum (Gray & Diamond, 1989). In the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (Council of Europe, 2001), the term "programme evaluation" is used rather than "assessment" to encompass, among other aspects, "the effectiveness of particular methods or materials" and "learner/teacher satisfaction" (p. 177). Rationales for placing learner variables, both cognitive and affective, at the center of instruction and assessment have been expounded by many researchers (e.g., Breen, 2001; Lange, 2003; Lantolf, 2001; and Tse, 2000), and they provide the underpinnings for our inquiry. To lay the foundation for both formative and summative assessment (Phillips, 2005) in seven languages, we launched a pilot study to determine whether and to what degree the goals and objectives of our language core curriculum (first- and second-year language programs) had been reached and to identify areas of improvement using student input. We gathered data on various aspects of our program that revealed students' "preexisting conditions and attitudes" (Bailey, 1998, p. 96) toward language studies and the teaching-learning partnership. After a brief description of our general assessment plan and of the language programs, we present and discuss our findings as they relate to: (1) student priorities in studying foreign languages and cultures compared to program goals and objectives, (2) student perceptions of the effectiveness of instructional methods used, (3) identification of the best aspects of the program that permitted students to reach their linguistic and cultural learning objectives, (4) student application of language and culture learning outside the classroom environment, (5) student motivation toward culture learning and quality of this learning, and (6) student recommendations for change.

Background

Language Studies and Institutional Goals and the National Standards

The assessment plan used by our department is linked to the one used by our institution, the United States Naval Academy. That plan, in turn, is based on principles of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology model (Rogers & Sando, 1996) and those formulated by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (2003). A faculty committee representing the various disciplines created a list of desirable traits and outcomes, called Attributes and Capabilities, which our students should acquire prior to graduation. At the department level, we elaborated on those institutionwide goals that best applied to the study of language and culture by relating them to the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (National Standards, 1999): (1) competence in oral and written communication as it applies to foreign language acquisition; (2) geopolitical awareness as encompassing perspectives, practices, and products under cultures; and (3) lifelong learning in terms of motivation to continue the study of foreign languages and cultures beyond the classroom. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Multiple-Language Program Assessment: Learners' Perspectives on First- and Second-Year College Foreign Language Programs and Their Implications for Program Improvement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.