Article The proficiency profile of language students: Implications for programs

Winke, Paula; Zhang, Xiaowan; Rubio, Fernando; Gass, Susan; Soneson, Daniel; Hacking, Jane
Volume 01 - Issue 1
proficiency; heritage language learners; K-12 language learning; postsecondary language programs; majors
University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center; (co-sponsored by American Association of University of Supervisors and Coordinators; Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition; Center for Educational Reources in Culture, Language, and Literacy; Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning; Open Language Resource Center; Second Language Teaching and Resource Center)
Winke, P., Zhang, X., Rubio, F., Gass, S., Soneson, D., & Hacking, J. (2020). The proficiency profile of language students: Implications for programs. Second Language Research & Practice, 1(1), 25-64.
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In this article we provide an overall picture of the level of language proficiency attained by undergraduate students learning six languages in postsecondary language programs. Specifically, we address the curricular and pedagogical implications of the proficiency assessments on the programs that emerged from this large-scale study, which took place over a three-year span at Michigan State University, the University of Utah, and the University of Minnesota. We collected speaking, reading, and listening proficiency test data from students enrolled at all levels of instruction in Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. We present the results and divide them by students’ heritage status, the students’ number of years of kindergarten through twelfth grade learning of the target language, and the students’ postsecondary curricular level (first, second, third, or fourth) of instruction. We also investigate junior and senior upper-division students’ proficiency attainments by their language major or minor status. We build on issues and questions raised by Teschner in 1991 and the Modern Language Association in 2007.