Assessing HLLs: The What

What is heritage language assessment?

Assessment is an ongoing process of setting clear goals for student learning and measuring progress towards those goals. Effective language assessment should consider the four basic principles of assessment: validity, reliability, practicality, impact.

For a review of these principles, take a look at the Understanding Assessment tutorial. In addition, each set of Show What You Know! scenarios in Understanding Assessment has a heritage language learner component; for more practice with heritage-specific scenarios, we recommend working through the tutorial.

Assessment is a critical element in language education. Well-crafted assessments provide valid, reliable, and relevant information about student progress. Assessment data can be used to inform program evaluation and instructional design to better meet the needs of language learners and the educators who serve them.

In the following sections, we will address three assessment purposes and how they can be used with heritage language learners:

  • Placement tests
  • Formative assessment
  • Summative assessment