High School Heritage Class Sample Response

Based on this information, what heritage language learner characteristics should Clare consider in this situation?

Because Clare’s students are heritage learners, but the test is designed for world language learners, she should consider:

  • Varying understanding of grammatical structure
  • Frequently-used vocabulary, and if/how it differs from the world language materials
  • Different proficiency levels across various domains
  • Students’ cultural connections and identity issues associated with the language

What implications might this situation have for assessment?

  • Clare will need to make sure that the world language assessment is appropriate for a heritage-specific context, or can be modified to fit her class. If it’s not, she might consider developing a new set of assessment materials that better fits her students’ needs.¬†
  • Even if the proficiency or age-level of the assessment fits, a world language assessment won’t necessarily be able to accommodate the unique skill or domain profiles that of her heritage learners. This means that Clare might not have a clear picture of what her students know at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the course, as the test might not provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate all of their skills.
  • This could affect not only her understanding of her students, but her learning objectives, instructional goals, and lesson plans for the rest of the course and upcoming years.

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