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World Languages and Cultural Studies

Assessment

The Department of World Languages & Cultural Studies follows the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Proficiency Guidelines. The Department is currently in the process of mapping out where exactly in the program our students achieve the different levels of proficiency in the different skills.

However, bearing in mind the forthcoming NEASC accreditation process, the Department of World Languages & Cultural Studies is currently assessing three specific learning goals at the crucial point between Intermediate and Advanced level courses:

Learning goal #1: Writing Competence

Students achieve the intermediate-mid level of the ACTFL guidelines by the end of the second semester of intermediate language instruction.

Evidence of student learning:

Written assignments in the 2020 language class in which students demonstrate

  • ability to write complete, coherent communications using simple everyday vocabulary, and communicative functions.
  • evidence of control of syntax in non-complex sentences and in basic verb forms as demanded by the written assignment.
  • awareness of textual cohesion and a certain sense of style
  • moderate creativity and basic knowledge of cultural differences

Criteria for Evaluation:   

Students will be judged on linguistic accuracy and their success in fulfilling the communicative tasks required. Instructors in the different languages will use the same rubric to measure writing proficiency following the ACTFL guidelines for this level. For the outcome to be successful, 75% of the students will be able to obtain a B or higher. 

Learning goal #2: Oral Proficiency

Students achieve the intermediate-mid level of the ACTFL guidelines by the end of the second semester of intermediate language instruction.

Evidence of Student Learning:

Oral evaluations in the 2020 language class in which students demonstrate

  • ability to express personal meaning by combining and recombining known elements and conversational input to make utterances of sentence length and some strings of sentences using simple everyday vocabulary, and communicative functions.
  • evidence of control of a variety of uncomplicated communicative tasks in straight forward social situations. Conversation in the target language may include personal information covering self, family, home, daily activities, interests, and personal preferences, and personal and social needs.
  • moderate creativity when responding to direct questions or requests for information and when asking a variety of questions to obtain simple information to satisfy basic needs, such as directions, prices and services.
  • Awareness of functional language formulas when speaking; i.e. code-switching, false cognates, literal translations, and memorized material.

Criteria for Evaluation:

Students will be judged on linguistic accuracy and their success in fulfilling the communicative tasks required, using the Oral Proficiency Interview Assessment Sheet. Instructors in the different languages will use the same rubric to measure writing proficiency following the ACTFL guidelines for this level. For the outcome to be successful, 75% of the students will need to be able to obtain a B or higher.

Learning goal #3: Cultural Competence

Students can develop an understanding of the diverse cultures that comprise the reality of the language. Students are able to appreciate art, music, and literature with sensitivity and critical judgment. Students can apply knowledge in a particular field or area to the task of understanding a cultural artifact.

Evidence of student learning: 

Written assignment or class presentation in Advanced language class in which students demonstrate 

  • ability to research the conditions and context of production for a cultural artifact (movie, short story, poem, song, music video…) relevant to the topic of the class.
  • intellectual capacity to relate the aforementioned conditions and context to the specific characteristics of the cultural artifact in question.
  • capacity to explain the different meanings that the cultural artifact can produce both within its context as well as within a wider, global context.
  • linguistic ability to convey the conclusions from the analytic process described above to classroom (presentation) or in coherent, written form (written assignment).

Criteria for evaluation:

Students will be judged on the plausibility of their analysis, the rigor of their research, and their success in communicating the results of their research and analysis. Professors in the different languages might use a similar rubric (such as this) to measure the adequacy of a presentation or written analysis. For the outcome to be successful, 75% of the students will need to be able to obtain a B or higher.