Placement Test for Assessing Language Proficiency-Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University

Program: Modern Languages Department, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Assessment: Placement Test for Assessing Language Proficiency

Purpose:

For students enrolling in language courses, correct placement is crucial if they are to reap the most benefits from a course. We needed an effective and efficient way to assess students’ language proficiency before they enrolled in a course.

Implementation:

We use web-based adaptive tests developed by a national university consortium. These tests assess knowledge in reading skills, grammar, and vocabulary; the tests are offered in French, German, and Spanish. Student performance is automatically and immediately scored online. All students who have studied a foreign language before and who want to take a language course in our department are directed to take this test. After completing the test, a student sees a score sheet that includes the score, a referral to the appropriate course, and instructions (if necessary) to bring the score sheet to the department for prerequisite waivers to be issued.

Results:

The web-based placement test has helped to place students into language courses that are most appropriate to their proficiency levels. The department continues to use this placement test.

Comments:

None.

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