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ERIC Number: EJ970351
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
ISSN: ISSN-1550-7076
Spanish as a Heritage Language Assessment: Successes, Failures, Lessons Learned
MacGregor-Mendoza, Patricia
Heritage Language Journal, v9 n1 p1-26 Spr 2012
From its origins over three decades ago, interest in the field of Spanish as a heritage language (SHL) has grown and has produced a wealth of research. While our understanding of the sociolinguistic profile of Spanish heritage language learners has increased and we have advanced in our knowledge of the linguistic abilities and strategies Spanish heritage language learners bring to bear on specific language tasks, we are just beginning to apply this knowledge in meaningful ways for the purposes of assessment. The present paper describes the evaluation of the efficacy of the Spanish Placement Test (SPT) that has been used for over 15 years to evaluate students initiating their Spanish language study at New Mexico State University (NMSU). The SPT is intended to distinguish between students who would be best served by either the SHL sequence or the Spanish as a Second Language sequence and, further, to suggest which course within the appropriate sequence would best allow their skills to grow. An examination of the SPT was warranted as the population for which the SPT was originally designed did not appear to match that of NMSU's population of SHL learners. Additionally, at first glance, the items on the SPT did not appear to be a good fit with the goals of the courses in the SHL sequence. The present paper discusses the findings of our evaluation of the SPT in light of its ability to assess the skills of learners of Spanish as a heritage language and place them accurately in the sequence of SHL courses. (Contains 1 note and 5 tables.)
National Heritage Language Resource Center and UC Consortium for Language Learning & Teaching. 1333 Rolfe Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1411. Tel: 310-825-1138; Fax: 310-206-5183; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico