Both formative and summative performance appraisals of villager learning, counselor effectiveness and program outcomes are measured by the Language Villages. In addition, qualitative and quantitative assessment instruments are used to measure villager language skills and cultural dispositions. Overall villager, parent/guardian and staff satisfaction with the Language Villages experience is also measured.
In the two-week program, formative villager assessment begins with placement interviews and follows with mid-session progress reports and final session summaries. During the session, villagers are encouraged to reflect on their learning, their progress, and their goals. Two-week villagers use a modified form of our CLVisa.
In the high school credit program, both formative and summative assessments are used in addition to learner portfolios. Credit villagers will begin with several placement evaluations, have frequent opportunities to demonstrate their language and culture learning through activity-based assessment tools, and through more familiar quizzes and tests. Each credit villager also completes a comprehensive portfolio documenting his or her own learning and progress at the Village and make a presentation of a final project or the portfolio itself.
The Concordia Language Visa (CLVisa) is a self-assessment tool designed to help villagers document their experiences learning languages and past encounters with other cultures. The modified CLVisa in the two-week program, and the full CLVisa and portfolio in the high school credit program are used to promote villager self-assessment and reflection. The CLVisa values all language learning experiences and acknowledges that successful communication can take place with varying levels of expertise in several languages.
For example, a villager could possess good “survival skills” (asking directions, ordering in a restaurant, buying tickets) in one language. That same villager could possess more advanced skills in a different language that allow him or her to carry on extended conversations, read magazines and newspapers, and understand native speakers who are speaking at a normal conversational rate. That same villager could be very advanced in yet another language so that he or she can debate topics of international importance, read novels, and understand news broadcasts.
The CLVisa identifies four broad levels of language proficiency and then lists characteristics (what a villager can do) for each level. Using these “can-do” statements, along with conversations with language group leaders, the villagers can assess themselves on how much language they have learned. They can comment on the evening programs and what they learned during those programs. There is also space for journaling about each day’s experiences.
The CLVisa helps villagers take ownership for their learning and reflect on the experiences that are particularly helpful to them as they grow in their language and cultural knowledge. The CLVisa was developed by Concordia Language Villages staff for exclusive use in our programs, is based on the European Language Portfolio, and allows learners to assess their language learning progress via the three modes of communication of the (US)National Standards for Foreign Language Learning.