Post-Secondary World Language Assessment Module


The Post-Secondary World 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 post-secondary world language learners in U.S.-based institutions of higher education, including colleges, universities, and community colleges, as well as other adult community education settings.

What can I learn from this module? 

When thinking about post-secondary world language educators and their assessment needs, there are two major concerns that typically come up: how and where to place students into programs and how to use assessment in a comprehensive, systematic way to help students reach their goals and monitor their progress over time.

While the Foreign Language Assessment Directory (FLAD) is a wonderful resource for searching for available assessments for use within programs, for many contexts and languages, there are limited options available and these may not meet local needs. In this case, you may need to go through a rigorous test development process for a locally-created tool, like a placement test, or you might use more formative assessment tools that are teacher-developed to supplement an off-the-shelf placement test or for the purposes of ongoing classroom assessment.

This module is designed to help you think through these decisions so that you can select appropriate assessments for your course or program. By the end of this module, you will be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who are post-secondary world language learners? What are some factors that influence learning in this context?
  • What are proficiency-based approaches to assessment, and how can they be used when working with post-secondary world language learners?
  • What is placement testing, and how can it be used in post-secondary world language contexts?
  • What considerations do I need to make when developing an assessment plan for my course or program?

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 general characteristics and considerations for post-secondary language learners, factors that influence post-secondary world language learning, and what this means for assessment.
  2. Proficiency
    • This section defines proficiency, discusses language proficiency standards and expectations, and provides recommendations on how to use proficiency-based approaches to assessment in a post-secondary courses or programs.
  3. Placement Testing
    • In this section, you will find information on placement testing in post-secondary contexts, including types of placement tests, uses of placement test results, and best practices for selecting and administering placement tests.
  4. Developing Assessment Plans
    • This section discusses considerations for developing assessment plans for post-secondary courses or programs.
  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 post-secondary world language learners and educators.

Click here to begin the module