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NAEP Foreign Language Assessment

The inaugural NAEP Foreign Language assessment is currently under development. The assessment is designed to assess twelfth-grade students, who have learned Spanish in a variety of ways and for different lengths of time, at the national level only. A pilot test was conducted in the fall of 2003. On March 5, 2009, the National Assessment Governing Board postponed the planned 2012 administration, and made plans to include this subject in the assessment cycle beginning in 2018.

A demonstration booklet for the 2003 pilot is now available.

The assessment is based on the Framework for the 2004 Foreign Language National Assessment of Educational Progress (Pre-Publication Edition, PDF File 278 KB), developed by the National Assessment Governing Board.

In this framework, the students could be assessed for four skills:

  • listening;
  • speaking;
  • reading; and
  • writing.

These skills can be assessed within three modes of communication:

  • interpersonal (involving two-way interactive communication);
  • interpretive (relating to the understanding of spoken or written language); and
  • presentational (involving creating spoken or written communication).

Communicative ability is to be assessed through authentic communication tasks as called for in daily life, school, and work.

The assessment tasks are meant to reflect four interrelated goals that provide the basis for communication:

  • gaining knowledge of other cultures;
  • connecting with other academic subject areas to acquire knowledge;
  • developing insights into the nature of language and culture through comparisons; and
  • participating in multilingual communities at home and around the world.

Performances on assessment tasks will be evaluated by how well the student understands (comprehension) and can be understood (comprehensibility). This evaluation subsumes language knowledge, the appropriate use of communication strategies, and the application of cultural knowledge to enhance communication.

The NAEP Foreign Language assessment in Spanish will assess:

  • listening and speaking in the interpersonal mode;
  • reading and listening in the interpretive mode; and
  • writing in the presentational mode.

To learn more about the assessment, see the Framework for the 2004 Foreign Language National Assessment of Educational Progress (Pre-Publication Edition, 278 KB PDF).


Last updated 24 March 2009 (RF)

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education