Identifying and Assessing Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

I. Introduction.  Student Learning Outcomes in programs of the Department of Modern Languages are listed in the six categories that are used university-wide in efforts to assess student output and program effectiveness.  The categories are as follows: Knowledge, Critical Thinking, Communication, Diversity, Ownership for Learning, and Personal and Professional Development

Learning a foreign language implies the acquisition of detailed knowledge of the target culture as well as the comprehension of the language and its literature.  Such knowledge encompasses purely technical knowledge of the target language as well as insights into modes of thinking other than those students already have.  Studying a foreign language will stimulate the student’s critical thinking about the linguistic structure of that language as well as its literature, all within a cultural context that implies a range of paradigms.  Critical thinking goes beyond the mere technical understanding of a text and the ability to summarize it.  It also implies the ability to interpret texts and the development of an understanding of the target culture.  Therefore, it extends into many disciplines across the social sciences, the humanities, and cross-cultural studies.  Students develop and improve communication skills not only in the target language, but through exposure to another linguistic system, and ultimately also in their mother tongue.  Our classes stimulates students to develop the ability to relate to diverse cultures and thus reflect on their own.  A foreign language, once started, often has the impact of turning students into life-long learners.  In that sense it is like a savings account that keeps growing once the initial investment is made.  The longer a student stays with the chosen language, especially after an extended sojourn in one of the countries in which it is spoken, the less the student may be inclined to give up on studying this language and its culture.  Language learning engages in a multitude of exercises and experiences in which students learn to interact with their peers and learn how to work as a team, an ability that is highly sought by government and industry employers.  Learning to do research cultivates individual responsibility and reinforces personal ethics.  The knowledge of another culture through its language and texts enhances social responsibility as well as cosmopolitan and even global thinking.  Consequently, the study of a foreign culture and its language has the potential to turn students into more responsible citizens of the world.  Students with four years of language training and a year abroad clearly demonstrate this development from local thinkers into more cosmopolitan thinkers.

Note: References to “advanced” and “superior” skills in reading, speaking, and writing are to definitions and guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). References are made in this document to Attachment A (*advanced) and Attachment B (**superior).

Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Grid

II. Student Learning Outcomes by Assessment Category.

A. Bachelor of Arts Modern Languages

Graduates in Modern Languages will have demonstrated:

Assessment Categories

  1. The ability to read primary texts in their target language for general comprehension
  2. The ability to interpret primary texts in their target language literatures and cultural context
  3. The ability to investigate, evaluate, and apply secondary sources of information in research and problem-solving activities
  4. Advanced* level skill in speaking according to recognized professional guidelines
  5. Advanced* level skill in reading according to recognized professional guidelines
  6. Advanced* level skill in writing according to recognized professional guidelines
  7. The ability to articulate differences and similarities between target language cultures and cultures in the United States
  8. The ability to work effectively in multi-ethnic and multilingual environments
  9. Knowledge of professional opportunities for those with bilingual or multilingual skills
  1. knowledge, diversity
  2. knowledge, critical thinking, diversity
  3. knowledge, critical thinking, ownership for learning, personal and professional development
  4. knowledge, critical thinking, communication
  5. knowledge, critical thinking, communication
  6. knowledge, critical thinking, communication
  7. critical thinking, communication, diversity
  8. diversity, communication, personal and professional development, critical thinking
  9. ownership for learning; personal and professional development
 

B. Master of Arts in Modern Languages

Master’s Degrees Graduates in Modern Languages will have demonstrated:

Assessment Categories

  1. Superior ability to comprehend and interpret primary texts

  2. The ability to investigate, evaluate, and apply secondary sources of information in research and problem-solving activities

  3. Extensive knowledge of target culture and appreciation of and sensitivity to cultural differences

  4. Superior** level skills in speaking according to recognized professional guidelines

  5. Superior** level skills in reading according to recognized professional guidelines

  6. Superior** level skills in writing according to recognized professional guidelines

  7. The ability to work effectively in multi-cultural, multilingual environment

  8. Awareness of professional standards and career possibilities for those with bilingual/ multilingual skills

  1. knowledge, critical thinking, diversity

  2. knowledge, critical thinking, ownership for learning, personal and professional development

  3. knowledge; critical thinking, diversity; personal and professional development

  4. communication; knowledge

  5. communication; knowledge

  6. communication; knowledge; critical thinking

  7. diversity; critical thinking; personal and professional development; ownership for learning

  8. personal and professional development

 

II. Student Learning Outcomes by Assessment Category.

A. Bachelor of Arts Modern Languages
Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Categories
  1. The ability to read primary texts in their target language for general comprehension
  2. The ability to interpret primary texts in their target language literatures and cultural context
  3. The ability to investigate, evaluate, and apply secondary sources of information in research and problem-solving activities
  4. Advanced* level skill in speaking according to recognized professional guidelines
  5. Advanced* level skill in reading according to recognized professional guidelines
  6. Advanced* level skill in writing according to recognized professional guidelines
  7. The ability to articulate differences and similarities between target language cultures and cultures in the United States
  8. The ability to work effectively in multi-ethnic and multilingual environments
  9. Knowledge of professional opportunities for those with bilingual or multilingual skills
  1. student portfolio
  2. term papers; student portfolio
  3. term papers; student portfolio
  4. OPI or SOPI (ACTFL guidelines)
  5. ACTFL guidelines; exit test; student portfolio
  6. student portfolio
  7. study abroad; student portfolio; culture component of curriculum
  8. group work in class; study abroad; conversation classes
  9. advising; activity clubs; semi-annual meeting sponsored by department of majors/minors
 

B. Master of Arts in Modern Languages

Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Categories

  1. Superior ability to comprehend and interpret primary texts
  2. The ability to investigate, evaluate, and apply secondary sources of information in research and problem-solving activities
  3. Extensive knowledge of target culture and appreciation of and sensitivity to cultural differences
  4. Superior** level skills in speaking according to recognized professional guidelines
  5. Superior** level skills in reading according to recognized professional guidelines
  6. Superior** level skills in writing according to recognized professional guidelines
  7. The ability to work effectively in multi-cultural, multilingual environment
  8. Awareness of professional standards and career possibilities for those with bilingual/ multilingual skills
  1. research papers, thesis/exam in the target language
  2. thesis/comprehensive exam
  3. observation of classwork; exit interview
  4. observation of classwork; OPI or SOPI (ACTFL guidelines)
  5. thesis/comprehensive exam; OPI or SOPI (ACTFL guidelines)
  6. thesis/comprehensive exam; OPI or SOPI (ACTFL guidelines)
  7. observation of teaching; student evaluation
  8. MLANG 710; exit interview>