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CAL Activities and Resources Related to Russian
CAL has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education, International Research and Studies Program, to conduct a national K-12 foreign language survey. In a 3-year project, CAL will replicate its 1987 and 1997 surveys of K-12 foreign language programs to identify current patterns and shifts over time in enrollment, amount of foreign language instruction, type of foreign language offerings, foreign language curricula, teacher qualifications, and other issues. Results will show trends in elementary and secondary foreign language education over three decades, including trends in Russian language education. This project will expand current knowledge of K-12 foreign language programs and issues and provide data to inform language education policy at the local, state, and national levels.
Many sectors of the U.S. government have expressed a capability gap among personnel: namely, the lack of speakers highly proficient in both English and any of several critical languages. In response, CAL’s English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS) project—funded by the National Security Education Program—helps heritage speakers of critical languages develop their English proficiency to high levels, with a particular focus on language skills specific to the federal workplace. CAL contributes to the development of curricula for specially designed intensive English programs at two universities, aids in the recruitment of program participants, monitors the progress of the students, and evaluates the success of the programs and participants. Ten Russian speakers have participated in the program since its inception in 2006.
Russian Language Assessment
The Student Oral Proficiency Assessment (SOPA) for Grades 2–8 and the Early Language Listening and Oral Proficiency Assessment (ELLOPA) for Grades preK–2 interviews are language proficiency assessment instruments designed to allow young students to demonstrate their highest level of performance in oral fluency, grammar, vocabulary, and listening comprehension. These interactive listening and speaking assessments are designed for children who are learning a foreign language in a school setting and can be used to assess Russian proficiency. Learn more.
CAL offers training in the effective use of SOPA, ELLOPA, and the CAL Oral Proficiency Exam (COPE). Training typically consists of a 2-day workshop that familiarizes participants with the assessment and allows them to practice interviewing and rating students. For more information on SOPA, ELLOPA, or COPE training workshops, contact Lynn Thompson.
The Russian Speaking Test (RST) is a Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI) that measures an examinee's speaking ability in Russian. This valid, standardized test allows for oral proficiency testing in situations where it is not feasible to give an oral interview due to the unavailability of trained testing personnel or time or budget considerations. The tape-mediated proficiency-based performance assessment requires students to listen to directions to speaking tasks from a master tape while following along in a test booklet. Student responses to each task are recorded on a separate response tape that is later evaluated by a trained rater who scores the performance according to the proficiency guidelines developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Each examinee receives a proficiency rating on the ACTFL proficiency scale. The test, which is available in three parallel forms, includes a warm-up, picture-based tasks, topic-based tasks, and situation-based tasks. With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the RST was developed by professional test developers at CAL working with leaders in the field of Russian language education. The RST is designed to elicit a representative performance sample of the examinee's speech in a short period of time and is intended for students at proficiency levels from Intermediate-Low to Superior. The RST may be administered in a language laboratory setting or individually. A Self-Instructional Rater Training Kit is available through the CAL Store. For more information, contact Laurel Winston, Coordinator, Speaking Test Administration.
Directories of K–12 Russian Language Immersion Programs in the United States
CAL's Directory of Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Programs in the U.S. contains searchable information about two-way immersion (TWI) programs around the country. Please visit the directory to search our records or to add your Russian TWI program.
The Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages is collecting profiles of heritage language programs in the United States. This online collection of profiles allows heritage language programs in community-based, K–12, and higher education settings to form a network to exchange ideas and resources. You can now view the online collection of profiles, which includes Russian programs, among others. If your program is not listed, please complete a heritage language program profile.
Cultural Orientation Resources in Russian
Welcome to the United States: Refugee Orientation (Video), Russian Edition is a newly revised Russian-language video that illustrates topics from Welcome to the United States: A Guidebook for Refugees with refugee and service provider testimonials and footage of refugees' lives in the United States. It can be used as a stand-alone resource or as a companion to the guidebook. It is available in both DVD and VHS format. Learn more.
CAL’s Russian-English Phrasebook is an easy-to-use reference that includes select Russian-English translations. The English phrases provided in the Russian-English Phrasebook have been selected both for their brevity and their usefulness in daily activities of American life. Topic areas include giving information about yourself, recognizing signs, dealing with money, health, food, clothing, housing, and jobs. A cassette version of the phrasebook is also available. Learn more.
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