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What issues would language programs like to see addressed in the handbook?

In response to solicitations for handbook suggestions, many of the comments dealt with the distinction between testing to assess language ability in general and testing to ensure appropriate placement. Several comments addressed the need for institution specific placement procedures:

Definition - placement does not refer to achievement, rather to "placement". It is a matching instrument to match students' current ability to courses. Placement results are relevant to the particular institution and course selection available. (Private University)

-ending the practice of borrowing some placement instrument from other sites - stressing placement into a curriculum that is local - building a valid one based on changing curricular goals using alternative ways to place students and monitor these (Public University)

Other respondents stressed the notion of fairness with respect to the types of courses offered and the placement procedures used:

Fair assessment of students based on proficiencies which a program espouses. (Private University)

I would like to see learner perspectives on placement testing -both in terms of satisfaction, and in terms of how they perceive the testing? Do they think the tests and their outcomes were a good predictor of the kind of language and language tasks that were included in the course that they move into.(Public University)

In addition to concerns with the overall philosophy of testing, several responsdents indicated that they would like to see the question of oral ability testing addressed. The difficulties of testing the spoken language and the potential for computerized tests to ease the burden seemed to be fairly common concerns:

If the placement exam includes speaking, how is the issue of compensation dealt with for the faculty who must evaluate the speaking proficiency? (Public University)

Quick and easy to administer oral placement? (Private University)

Options for computerized placement testing. Are there options to test production skills? (Private University)

I would like to know about online tests that can do a relatively quick evaluation of speaking ability. (Public University)

Other respondents raised concerns about the placement of heritage speakers as well as difficulties placing students in programs where there might be an incentive to do poorly on the test.

Distinguishing heritage language placement and establishing place-out procedures. (Public University)

How do departments control some students' deliberate poor scoring on the placement test in order to place into a level lower than their ability so that they may have a (perceived) easier course? (Private University)

next up previous
Next: Conclusions Up: Discussion Previous: How involved are teachers
Martyn Clark 2004-12-21