Establishing Enabling Final Learning Outcomes: Challenges and Solutions (Danko Sipka, Arizona State University and Columbia University, United States)

4:30 PM, Thursday 29 Apr 2021 EDT (30 minutes)
  Virtual session
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Danko Sipka, Arizona State University, United States

Title: Establishing Enabling Final Learning Outcomes: Challenges and Solutions

Keywords: final learning objectives; NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-do Statements; curriculum design; assessment; less commonly taught languages


This talk focuses on the opportunities and challenges of the Language Instruction Standardization Initiative, at the Arizona State University School of International Letters and Cultures to establish and assess enabling final learning outcomes based on NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-do Statements for all its language courses (with over 9,000 students). This longitudinal initiative sets and calibrates these objectives while it concurrently develops a cohort of certified testers. At present over 90% of all lower-division language courses have already been aligned with the Can-do Statements, and there are over 20 instructors in the process of becoming certified Oral Proficiency Interview testers. The initiative is performed in a highly complex environment, encompassing languages of varied language difficulty, highly enrolled and staffed commonly taught language courses and under-enrolled less commonly taught language courses, facing paucity of resources of all kind. The eventual goal of the initiative is to increase quality of instruction, enrollment in under-enrolled languages, and enable course sharing with other institutions. The initiative gives full agency to the participating instructors and remains mindful of their academic autonomy. All key decisions are discussed by all stakeholders and voted on. The only standardized part are the final learning outcomes. Using the reverse design model, the instructors are in charge of developing their own formative and summative assessment tools and strategies and then classroom activities. The talk will primarily focus on the experiences relevant for less commonly taught languages, offering solutions that can be replicated in other academic environments and pointing to the pitfalls in the process.