Picking Up the PACE: Proficiency Assessment for Curricular Enhancement

  • Dan SonesonEmail author
  • Elaine E. Tarone
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 37)


This chapter describes a project at the University of Minnesota designed to improve the quality of language learning and teaching in seven different language programs through articulated coordination of three ongoing activities: annual administration of ACTFL proficiency tests of reading, speaking and listening to students at several points in the curriculum; a professional development (PD) program conducted by and for instructors of all languages, engaging them in exploratory practice to help students achieve higher proficiency outcomes; and a systematic program of proficiency-based self-assessment for undergraduate language students.

In this chapter, we provide details on each of these three initiatives all working together to raise the level of students’ language proficiency. First, we analyze the proficiency assessment results of 1477 students enrolled in years 1–4 in seven language programs over the course of 2 years. Second, we describe a program of professional development for instructors that is conducted by and for instructors of all languages, the goal of which is to fine-tune instructors’ delivery of the curriculum – to adjust their pedagogy and use of curricular materials to enable students to achieve higher proficiency outcomes. Finally, we provide an overview of a proficiency-based self-assessment measure for students to engage them in their own proficiency development.


Assessment Professional development Self-assessment Proficiency Flagship Curriculum enhancement 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Minnesota Language CenterMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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