The ultimate long-term goal of this project is the adoption of an eportfolio model for assessment of student learning across all four courses of the foreign language sequence in multiple languages – the beginning level (1010, 1020, 1050/1060) and the intermediate level (2010, 2020) courses. This goal will be achieved in stages, allowing us to carefully evaluate and refine the project at each stage before full implementation across the entire language program. This project has been generously funded through a series of Learning Technologies Incubator Grants (College of Arts & Sciences, UVA) awarded to us in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17.
The outcomes will be a more comprehensive assessment of language learning (communicative competence and cultural competence) both at the course-level and at the program-level. In other words, eportfolios will support student assessment in a particular course as well as between courses and at the end of the language sequence. The eportfolio model of assessment will better support a more global and comprehensive evaluation of student performance in all areas of language learning – linguistic knowledge (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.), language skill development (speaking, listening, reading, and writing), and cultural learning – by allowing the student to collect and choose those artifacts from the course that best represent their learning in each of the areas described above. Artifacts selected for the eportfolio could include multimedia projects or assignments, such as video or audio oral exams, video projects, digital storytelling, etc. The learning portfolio will allow students to reflect on their learning in a particular assignment, on their progress at the end of a course, and upon completing the foreign language sequence. In creating a learning portfolio, the student sets goals, self-assesses their own learning along the way, and evaluates and refines future goals, resulting in a more self-directed learning experience.
Integration of a learning portfolio in these courses will also benefit the teacher. The eportfolio will allow teachers to assess student learning more globally, with a collection of student artifacts (exams, multimedia, projects) in one place. These artifacts can include activities to assess cultural competencies and skill development – listening and speaking through audio or video files, reading and writing through text or other multimedia. The tool may also help new teachers (new GTAs) to develop their pedagogical materials and refine their teaching style. Teachers who use this method of assessment might easily apply it to other courses and contexts in their future teaching.
YEAR 1, 2014-2015
The first stage included the pilot of eportfolio tools in selected sections of beginning, intermediate, and advanced-level courses of French and Spanish and in two graduate-level pedagogy courses. In Summer 2014, we piloted PebblePad in the Summer Language Institute in French for creation of student learning portfolios. In Spring 2015, we used WordPress for learning portfolios in intermediate and advanced French and in advanced Spanish. In Fall 2014, graduate student instructors created online teaching portfolios using WordPress in our two pedagogy courses.
YEAR 2, 2015-2016
In year two, our project included seven foreign languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish) — 75+ sections of language courses reaching approximately 1,700 students each semester. During this second stage of our project, we developed and revised our use of eportfolio assessment and of WordPress, made improvements to WordPress to better fit our learning context, and developped a list of best practices and a suite of eportfolio resources and materials to be made available to our colleagues in foreign language departments at UVA. We also piloted Digication in a select number of foreign language courses in Spring 2016.
YEAR 3, 2016-2017
Updates to be posted here soon.