Office of Language Assessment

Language for Specific Purposes – Domain Analysis

Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) Courses

As a way of building on the innovation that has already taken place, in 2019 UChicago Language Center added the Languages for Specific Courses initiative within the LPII. This initiative seeks to develop a rigorous, systematic way of adding specialized courses to the university’s language offerings–courses such as Spanish for the Legal Professions, or other courses that pair a specific language with a specific domain.

But in adherence with the LPII’s guiding principle of reverse design, we cannot develop a course until we have an end-of-year assessment in place; only then can we determine whether the course will prepare students to meet the target functions. And in the case of LSP, we can’t develop an assessment until we first identify those target functions. We do that throught a process called domain analysis.

Domain Analysis

A Domain Analysis is a systematic analysis of language use in specific domains in order to identify and define the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities one must possess in order to function in the target domain (i.e., in the specific real-world language use context).

Steps of a Domain Analysis
    1. Identify different components in the target domain.
    2. Evaluate the importance, relevance, and practicality of these components.
    3. Choose the most critical, relevant, and informative components to analyze in detail & provide a rationale for it.
    4. In consultation with OLA, decide data collection & analysis method(s) for each component.
    5. As a result, create a table of key language knowledge, skills, and abilities in the target domain for the given proficiency level.
    6. Define the domain specific target functions for each skill for the given proficiency level (based on ACTFL general language proficiency guidelines).
The deadline for Domain Analysis proposals will be Friday, November 6, 2020. More information on the proposal process will be coming soon.