Heritage Language Assessment Module


The Heritage Language Assessment Module is a companion resource to Understanding Assessment: A Guide for World Language Educators. This module covers topics related to language assessment for heritage language learners (HLLs). It is designed to help educators understand and select appropriate assessments for this population. 

What can I learn from this module? 

This module will enhance your understanding of HLLs and support you in developing assessment practices that best meet your needs and the needs of your heritage language (HL) students. By the end of this module, you will be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who is a heritage language learner? What are some factors that influence HL development?
  • Why is assessment important for heritage language learners?
  • What types of tests are appropriate for HLLs? What approaches to assessment will be useful for this population?
  • What HLL-specific considerations do I need to make when thinking about my classroom assessment practices?
  • How do I select, adapt, or develop an assessment that makes sense for my context? 

How should I use this resource?

As you move through each section, you will be able to work through various scenarios in the “Show What You Know!” sub-pages. You’ll also be able to fill out worksheets while thinking about your own context and assessment needs. The module contains the following sections:

  1. Introduction
    • The module begins with a discussion of HLL general characteristics and considerations, various factors that influence language development, and what this means for assessment.
  2. Assessing HLLs: The Why
    • This section addresses why assessment is important for heritage language development, and some challenges that educators face in assessing HLLs.  
  3. Assessing HLLs: The What
    • Here we look at three types of assessments – placement, formative, summative – commonly used with HLLs and give examples of effective assessment practices for these learners.
  4. Assessing HLLs: The How
    • In this section, we discuss considerations for selecting, modifying, and developing assessments that support your HL students’ needs. 
  5. Putting It All Together 
    • This section briefly summarizes the major takeaways of the module and provides some recommendations for using the information you’ve learned.
  6. Resources 
    • The module concludes with a list of references, worksheets, and other online resources for heritage learners and educators.

Click here to begin the module!