French, German, Italian, and Spanish

Learning Outcomes for French, German, Italian, and Spanish


In Spring 2008, the Department of World Languages and Literatures developed a series of "gates" that clearly delineate expected student outcomes in seven key categories: listening and reading comprehension, oral proficiency, written proficiency, meta-linguistic analysis, cultural awareness, academic competencies, and real-life use of language. These categories were determined in coherence with the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning developed by the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The National Standards are Communication, Cultures, Comparisons, Connections, and Communities. The Department of World Languages and Literatures currently has four "gates" where student progress and level of success in the seven categories are measured and marked.

Gate 1 is upon completion of two semesters of language study (ARB101, CHI101, FRE101, GER101, HBR101, ITA101, JPN101, LAT101, POR101, RUS101, and SPA101), or equivalent. Students at this level are expected to reach a level of Novice Mid to Novice High (French, German, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, and Spanish); Novice Low to Novice Mid for less frequently taught languages (Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, and Russian). The measuring tool for this gate is a final exam or project in the second semester course. We are exploring the possibility of using an external proficiency testing tool called STAMP (Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency) to ensure results that are accurately calculated by certified  assessors who have been trained and in the ACTFL proficiency scale.

Gate 2 is upon completion of four semesters of language study (ARB210, CHI210, FRE210, GER210, HBR210, ITA210, JPN210, LAT210, POR210, RUS210, and SPA210), or equivalent. Students at this level are expected to reach a level of Novice High to Intermediate Low (French, German, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, and Spanish); Novice Mid to Novice High for less frequently taught languages (Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, and Russian). The measuring tool for this gate is a final exam or project in the fourth semester course. We have explored the possibility of using the STAMP test for accurate results. In Fall 2010, we tested all our fourth semester students as well as third semester students and obtained favorable results. This testing was supported by a university assessment grant that was petitioned by Dr. Elena Schmitt, Dr. Judith Hammer and Dr. Jian Wu. Beginning Fall 2011, with the implementation of the University Liberal Education Program, this testing will become mandatory for all students at the university and will involve a student fee.

Students pursuing a major or a minor pass Gate 3 upon successful completion of the required 300 level courses as well as by reaching the expected level of Intermediate Mid to Intermediate High. Currently, the measuring tool for this gate is a final exam or project in the highest 300 level course taken by the student.

Gate 4 is upon completion of the requirements for the major as well as by reaching the expected level of Advanced Low. Currently, for students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in French, German, Italian, and Spanish and for students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish, the measuring tool for this gate is the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview and Written Production Test. A score of Advanced Low or Higher is required for graduation. For students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in French, German, and Italian, the measuring tool for this gate is a final exam or project in the highest 400 level course taken by the student.