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ERIC Number: EJ1115028
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0015-718X
Setting Evidence-Based Language Goals
Goertler, Senta; Kraemer, Angelika; Schenker, Theresa
Foreign Language Annals, v49 n3 p434-454 Fall 2016
The purpose of this project was to identify target language benchmarks for the German program at Michigan State University (MSU) based on national and international guidelines and previous research, to assess language skills across course levels and class sections in the entire German program, and to adjust the language benchmarks as needed based on the study results and make recommendations for the curriculum. The goal of the study was to identify cost- and time-effective valid and reliable assessment tools for program-wide language assessment. During the 2012 spring semester, all students enrolled in a German class at MSU (N = 320) participated in this study. At the beginning of the semester, students completed two different language tests both advertised as being aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). The research was guided by the following two research questions: (1) What are the mean and median language levels of students enrolled in German classes at MSU as determined by (a) a language learning software test, and (b) a language test adapted from Goethe-Institut practice exams? and (2) Is there a correlation between the two tests and/or subsections of the tests? Benchmark levels were initially set as Novice High after the first year of language study, Intermediate Low after the second year, Intermediate High after the third year, and Advanced Low after the fourth year. Students mostly met the benchmark levels, though not equally at each program level and not equally across skills, with the higher scores in productive skills rather than receptive skills. While there was a correlation between the tests and course levels and also between many of the test portions, the tests did not yield the same CEFR ratings, which suggests that at least one of the instruments was not as valid and reliable as hoped. After reviewing the results, the benchmarks were revised to Intermediate Low after the first year, Intermediate Mid after the second year, Intermediate High after the third year, and Advanced Low after the fourth year with the recommendation to put more emphasis on receptive skills in the curriculum.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A