Where Am I? Where Am I Going, and How Do I Get There?: Increasing Learner Agency Through Large-Scale Self Assessment in Language Learning

  • Gabriela SweetEmail author
  • Sara Mack
  • Anna Olivero-Agney
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 37)


This chapter explores the efficacy of Basic Outcomes Student Self Assessment (BOSSA), a fully integrated standardized second language self-assessment protocol. Designed for large-scale, sustainable use across languages, levels, and modalities, BOSSA supports learner awareness as a path to agency and empowerment.

BOSSA shifts the focus from the traditional teacher as center of knowledge (the only one who evaluates) to a learner-centered space where the students work in community to actively support and develop their language skills. The collaboratively created protocol was validated through piloting over several semesters, operationalizing self assessment at the University of Minnesota and transforming the language classroom experience for more than 10,000 students in ten languages.

Incorporating qualitative data from focus groups with students and instructors as well as quantitative data from student-reported benefit and self-assessment surveys, researchers found that a self-assessment protocol that pairs a proximal performance opportunity with training and practice with self assessment can successfully support learners, instructors, and language programs in large-scale contexts. In addition, it provides a workable response to the increasing calls for integrating research-driven practice and transdisciplinary approaches as essential elements of second language teaching and learning.


Standardized learner-centered reflection protocol Integrated performance tasks Accuracy in self evaluation Learner awareness Transdisciplinary approach Active learning Empowerment Cross-language applicability Sustainable use 



The authors would like to thank the many instructors, students, and staff of the University of Minnesota who contributed to this project. We are also grateful to the reviewers of this chapter for their valuable comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriela Sweet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sara Mack
    • 2
  • Anna Olivero-Agney
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Spanish & Portuguese StudiesUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Italian Cultural CenterMinneapolis/St. PaulUSA

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