Language Pedagogy Innovation Initiative

LANGUAGE PEDAGOGY INNOVATION INITIATIVE GRANTS

Sponsored by the College, University of Chicago

In November 2017 the Chicago Language Center (CLC), with funding from the College, launched the Language Pedagogy Innovation InitiativeTM. This initiative is organized around a reverse design model that uses language assessment to spur innovation in language pedagogy and build a solid foundation for language teaching and testing practices across the University.

This initiative is an iterative cycle of language assessment workshops, test design and development, and curriculum design and development, with financial and professional development support at each step. The initiative covers three language proficiency levels: Language Competency, Practical Proficiency, and Advanced Proficiency.

  • Competency: the ability to perform basic language functions expected after one year of language instruction.
  • Practical Proficiency: the ability to function in most personal and some academic or professional settings.
  • Advanced Proficiency: the ability fo function in a wide variety of settings, including all personal settings and many academic or professional settings.

Instructors do not need to complete a full cycle at each proficiency level, but they must attend the corresponding workshop before developing a test, and they must develop a test before they can apply for a curriculum grant (i.e., in order to develop a Competency test you must first attend a Competency workshop; after the test is developed and approved, you have the option of applying for a first-year curriculum development grant). Instructors also have the option of developing intensive language sequences or new courses beyond second- or third-year.

Language Assessment Workshops

Grants to attend annual CLC-led workshops on Language Competency, Practical Proficiency, and Advanced Proficiency assessment:

  • These workshops are held annually and are limited to 20 participants.
  • Participants receive a stipend for attending each workshop.
  • These workshops are not limited to those who will be creating exams.

By attending a workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Review concepts, terms and principles of language assessment relevant to the given level (Competency, Practical, or Advanced).
  • Gain the fundamentals and terminology to be applied to test design.
  • Understand principles of designing a proficiency-based language test that measures four skills, integrated with reverse design.
  • Use Proficiency Guidelines to identify proficiency levels and measurable outcomes (i.e., target functions) appropriate to the target language for the given level.
  • Begin the process of item design, as well as selecting and working with authentic materials and input.

Test Design and Development

Grants to (re)design Competency, Practical, or Advanced assessments in individual languages:

  • Tests must measure real-world, functional language proficiency in all four skills (speaking, writing, reading and listening) at the given level. 
  • An iterative process of proposal, test design and revision, then test development and revision must be followed. Each step is laid out in the Timeline.
  • Test design and development takes place optimally over breaks or gradually over one or two quarters.
  • You must attend a corresponding workshop to be eligible to apply for a test development grant. 
  • Applications for test development are due approximately three weeks after a workshop.  Participants will receive up to $1,000 upon completion of a fully developed, approved test.

Curriculum Design and Development

Grants to realign and redesign curriculum to meet Competency, Practical, or Advanced outcomes:

  • Instructors must submit a detailed proposal, identifying the desired outcomes and outlining how the redesigned curriculum will achieve those outcomes. 
  • A corresponding assessment must be in place before applications for Course Grants can be submitted.
  • These awards will be granted during Summer 2018 for the 2018-2019 academic-year courses.
  • Participants will receive up to $5,000.00 upon completion of course development.

Intensive Language Sequences

Grants to develop new, academic-year intensive sequences to deliver more than one year of instruction in a three-quarter sequence. We highly recommend attending one of the assessment workshops before applying for this grant.  

  • Instructors can elect to combine first- and second-year courses, culminating in the Practical Language Proficiency Certificates, or, second- and third-year courses, culminating in the Advanced Language Proficiency Certificate (with study abroad).  
  • These awards will be granted during Summer 2018 for the 2018-2019 academic-year courses.
  • Participants will receive up to $5,000.00 upon completion of course development.

Language Course Development

Course Grants to design new academic-year courses beyond the second or third years. We highly recommend attending one of the assessment workshops before applying for this grant. 

  • Proposals must use reverse design, describing how the new course fits into the broader overall language curriculum, and clearly define learning outcomes. 
  • Course Grants applications due April 2nd. These awards will be granted during Summer 2018 for the 2018-2019 academic-year courses.
  • Participants will receive up to $5000.00 upon completion of course development.

Announcement

Click below to watch the announcement of the Initiative from November 9, 2017.

  • 0:00-4:43 - Christopher Wild presents an overview of current challenges and opportunities within the College.
  • 4:43-21:00 - Catherine Baumann discusses College policies and their potential impact on language teaching and learning.
  • 21:00-29:52 - Ahmet Dursun announces the details of the Initiative, including grants for language assessment workshops, redesigning assessments, and redesigning curriculum.
  • 29:52-31:51 - Nick Swinehart discusses the role of multimedia in the Initiative and announces the creation of a full-time Assessment and Pedagogy Coordinator position in the CLC.