The Current State of Foreign Language Assessment in the United States

10:00 - 11:30am
Presented at: Lancaster University

The publication of theEuropean Survey on Language Competenceshas shed some light on both student language competence and language teaching practices in Europe. In the United States, the passage of No Child Left Behind has resulted in a great increase in assessment in reading and math, as well as assessment of language proficiency gain for English language learners. However annual testing in foreign languages, although considered a "core" academic subject, is not mandated. How, then, is foreign language assessed in the U.S. on a local, regional and national level? Which tests are being used to show student progress or lack thereof?

While there is no current, comprehensive picture of student outcomes at the secondary or post-secondary level, a number of tests are being used locally and regionally to measure student outcomes. In this presentation, I will first outline past efforts to measure student outcomes in foreign languages (Carroll, 1967; Shrum and Glisan, 2005). Next, I will describe some of the tests being used in elementary and secondary settings and national efforts to develop formative assessments. Finally, I will discuss the challenges of the current efforts and discuss future possibilities with participants.