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Spotlight on Spanish


Spotlight on Spanish Activities
and Resources


Spanish-Language Assessments
for Dual Language Programs

by Julie Sugarman, Igone Arteagoitia, Cate Coburn, Colleen Gallagher, Meg Montee, and Jamie Schissel, CAL

This 2007 guide for selecting oral language, literacy, content area, and vocabulary assessments for students in Grades preK-12 describes assessments that may be appropriate for use in dual language programs. The guide does not make explicit recommendations but provides information that may help dual language practitioners select tests in the partner language. The guide includes an overview of available assessments, a list of related assessments, detailed information about available assessments, and a glossary of terms. Read it online or download the PDF.

Spanish Language Proficiency Rubrics
Under a Field-Initiated Research Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs, CAL and Arlington (VA) Public Schools developed oral language and writing rubrics for assessing Grade 1-5 students in Arlington’s Spanish-English two-way immersion program. These rubrics are designed to assess students’ productive use (speaking and writing) of English and Spanish in two-way immersion classrooms. The rubrics are available on CAL’s Two-Way Immersion Web site in English and Spanish. The report, Investigating Alternative Assessment in Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Programs, is also available online.

CAL's Foreign Language Assessment Directory (FLAD) is a free, searchable directory of information on nearly 200 tests in more than 90 languages. With funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s International Research and Studies Program, two of CAL’s existing test directories were combined and updated into this one comprehensive and easily accessible resource. The FLAD serves as a starting point for teachers and educators to search for appropriate foreign language assessments. The entry for each assessment includes grade and proficiency levels, languages for which the test is available, skills targeted, information about the test’s development, and the publisher’s or developer’s contact information for further inquiries. Search by language to find all Spanish language tests in the database. Test developers and administrators can help keep the directory up-to-date by completing the online form to add tests or update information currently in the directory. Learn more.

Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI)
With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, professional test developers at CAL worked with leaders in the field of Spanish language education to develop the Spanish Speaking Test (SST), a Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI) that measures an examinee's speaking ability in Spanish. This valid, standardized test allows for oral proficiency testing in situations where it is not feasible to give a face-to-face oral interview due to the unavailability of trained testing personnel or time or budget considerations. The SST is a tape-mediated proficiency-based performance assessment that requires students to listen to directions 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 includes a warm-up, picture-based tasks, topic-based tasks, and situation-based tasks and is available in three parallel forms. The SST is designed to elicit a representative performance sample of the examinee's speech in a short period of time and is intended for high school, college, or adult students at proficiency levels from Novice-High to Superior. The SST may be administered in a language laboratory setting or individually. A Self-Instructional Rater Training Kit is also available. For more information, contact Laurel Winston, Coordinator, Speaking Test Administration.

MRTP LogoThe Multimedia Rater Training Program (MRTP), developed by CAL staff in cooperation with the National Capital Language Resource Center, is a computer-assisted professional development tool that teaches language professionals to use the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines-Speaking to rate oral proficiency using authentic samples from the Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI).

This innovative software program provides a hands-on introduction to oral proficiency assessment and teaches rating skills to language professionals conveniently and effectively. The program was modeled after live rater training workshops and CAL's Self-Instructional Rater Training Kits. The program begins with training in the use of the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines-Speaking and then teaches users how to rate examinee performances on the SOPI.

Professional rating skills are best acquired through practice, and the MRTP provides the practice needed to learn to rate consistently and reliably. While learning to rate SOPIs using the MRTP, language professionals listen to and practice rating over 200 authentic examinee responses that have been pre-rated by certified SOPI and ACTFL raters. An adaptive component in the software allows more experienced raters to skip information they already know, making this program invaluable for use in refreshing rating skills. A library of performance samples can be used as models to apply rating skills when evaluating new examinees. The MRTP is available in Spanish, French, and German versions. Learn more or order from the CAL Store.

COPI LogoCAL is developing the Computerized Oral Proficiency Instrument (COPI) as an alternative to the tape-based SOPI. The COPI is designed for language professionals looking for a computerized, time-efficient assessment. The COPI’s computerized delivery uses up-to-date technology, and its semi-adaptive design allows for efficient testing. This test of Spanish oral proficiency is intended for late high school students, college students, and professionals. Learn more about the COPI.

SOPA, ELLOPA, and COPE: Spanish Oral Proficiency Assessments for
Grades preK-8

The Student Oral Proficiency Assessment (SOPA) for Grades 2–8 and the Early Language Listening and Oral Proficiency Assessment (ELLOPA) for Grades preK–2 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. The CAL Oral Proficiency Exam (COPE) uses oral interview and role-play techniques with two students at a time to measure the students’ ability to understand, speak, and be understood by others in a second language. The test measures primarily cognitive-academic language skills as well as second language proficiency and is designed with immersion programs in mind. The rater evaluates each student’s proficiency in terms of comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and grammar using a simplified holistic scale based on the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. SOPA, ELLOPA, and COPE can be used to assess Spanish proficiency. Learn more.

CAL offers training in the effective use of SOPA, ELLOPA, and COPE. Training typically consists of a 2-day workshop that familiarizes participants with the assessment and allows them to practice interviewing and rating students. SOPA Online Training courses are now available as well. For more information on SOPA, ELLOPA, or COPE training workshops, contact Lynn Thompson.

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CAL Projects related to Spanish.
Return to CAL's Spanish Resources index page. >>