How can I determine if an existing assessment is right for the needs of heritage language learners?
Despite the increased recognition of HLLs and research on pedagogical best practices, finding assessments that are intended specifically for this population is not always easy. There are a limited number of assessments designed for HLLs, and those available might not be appropriate for your context and/or students’ needs. After completing a needs assessment, you should have a better idea of how you should approach assessment for the HL students in your classroom.
If you are unable to find an assessment appropriate for heritage learners and you can’t develop your own assessments, you may decide to select or modify existing assessments designed for traditional world language contexts. In this situation, you will want to search for available world language tests to help inform your decision.
- The Foreign Language Assessment Directory (FLAD) is a free, searchable directory that serves as a starting point for teachers and educators to search for world language assessments. Available information about assessments includes grade and proficiency levels, languages for which each test is available, skills targeted by a test, information about the test’s development, and the publisher’s or developer’s contact information for further inquiries.
If the assessment you have selected is not specifically designed for HLLs, yet you think it may still be appropriate to use directly with your students, here are some additional questions to consider:
- In what ways does the intended population for this assessment differ from my students?
- What implications might these differences have for the test’s reliability and validity in my context?
If you find an existing assessment that you would like to use directly with your students, complete this test selection worksheet to make sure that you are making an informed and principled decision.