National K–12 Foreign Language Resource Center and CAL: Prior Collaborations
Purpose: The goal of this project was to provide opportunities for foreign language educators to receive training in the administration and rating of the SOPA, an oral assessment interview used in immersion and other types of elementary foreign language programs.
Overview: Since 1991, CAL has been providing SOPA training to foreign language educators at the school, district, or state level. Starting in 2000, CAL began providing training opportunities in conjunction with major foreign language conferences as well as continuing to provide training to specific schools or programs on demand. If you would like to have more information about SOPA training, please contact CAL.
The SOPA , originally developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in 1991 for use with immersion programs, was adapted along with the rating scale for use in other elementary foreign language in the elementary school (FLES) programs in 1996. The SOPA is designed to assess students' ability to understand and speak a foreign language. Reliability and validity testing were completed for both versions of the SOPA in 1999. Subsequently, both forms of the SOPA, the SOPA rating scales, the SOPA Administrator's Manual, and student self-assessments were finalized.
Student Oral Proficiency Assessment (SOPA) Validity and Reliability Research Study
Purpose: The goal of this research study was to revise and validate the Student Oral Proficiency Assessment (SOPA), one of the few oral proficiency instruments that is designed specifically for children in elementary school language programs.
Overview: The SOPA, originally developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in 1991 for use with immersion programs, was adapted, along with the rating scale, for use in other elementary foreign language in the elementary school (FLES) programs in 1996. The SOPA is designed to assess students' ability to understand and speak a foreign language. Reliability and validity testing took place between 1996-99.
In late 1996 and early 1997, the SOPA rating scale was revised using the foreign language standards and immersion benchmarks as a guide. An alternative form of the SOPA for use with content or language-based instruction in elementary foreign language programs other than immersion was developed. This version was designed for use in programs offering no less than thirty minutes per week and no more than five hours a week of foreign language instruction. Clinical testing of the new form of the SOPA was conducted in a program offering foreign language instruction twice a week for thirty minutes.
In spring 1997, after some revision, the two SOPAs were sent to foreign language educators in the field for comment. Following feedback, the two forms of the SOPA were further revised along with the rating scale.
In addition to the SOPA, a student self-assessment, related to the global proficiencies measured by the rating scale, was developed. A teacher observation instrument, the FLOSEM, was identified for use in the study as well. At each site, students completed the self-assessment prior to the interview, and their teachers completed the FLOSEM based on classroom observations.
Validity and reliability testing for French, Spanish, and Chinese language versions of the SOPA was conducted at sites selected from the schools of teachers who had received training in SOPA administration and rating at the 1997 Summer Performance Assessment Institute. Approximately 50 students in grades 2-5 were tested at each of the five sites with a focus on students who had had at least two years of language. The results were compiled and evaluated in spring, 1999. Copies of the SOPA Validation Report are available from CAL.
On the basis of the reliability and validity information collected, the two versions of the SOPA have been finalized and made available along with an administrator's manual, through the Center for Applied Linguistics.
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