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12 Looking Toward the Future W hen the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays (Title VI/FH) programs were created nearly 50 years ago, the international challenges facing the United States were different than they are today. The countryâs eye was focused primarily at the Soviet bloc nations, perceived as the greatest threat. The end of the cold war and the events of September 11, 2001, created new political and military concerns. Increased globalization and international business competition highlighted inadequacies in the U.S. education system and challenges to continued global competitiveness. The economic and security maps continue to be redrawn as new nations emerge as military, energy, and economic powers. As outlined in this report, the nationâs investment in Title VI/FH pro- grams has been a catalyst in the efforts of many of the countryâs best uni- versities to focus on teaching the languages and cultural knowledge needed to respond to world conditions. It has also supported needed research and other activities by nonprofit organizations and individual research- ers active in foreign language, area, and international issues. The Bush administrationâs proposed National Security Language Initiative (NSLI) will go a step further by focusing on critical language needs, particularly in K-12 education, and several agencies have taken steps to implement aspects of the proposal. At the same time, a reinvigorated and expanded focus on foreign languages will accentuate current issues and create new demands for foreign language assessment. Similarly, significant advances in information and communication technologies present opportunities to both support as- sessment and advance instruction. As the Title VI/FH programs and the U.S. Department of Education 228
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE 229 (ED) look toward their next 50 years, they will need to consider how they can best harmonize with other related programs and agencies to achieve multiple goals and how to best address emerging and ever-changing chal- lenges. This chapter begins by discussing current federal efforts to respond to national needs and what the committee views as needed structural changes in ED. It then moves to a discussion of the particular challenges posed by foreign language assessment and advances in new technology. The chapter touches on many of the topics covered in earlier chapters of the report, including language proficiency assessment, use of technology, and program oversight. NEW FEDERAL DIRECTIONS The nationâs deficiencies in international understanding and language skills cannot be corrected solely at the level of university education. Correc- tions have to start earlier in the education system. Nevertheless, universities can play key roles regarding 21st-century challenges by extending access to foreign language instruction to more students, by contributing to deepening the level of instruction to more advanced levels, and by collaborating with the K-12 system so that students begin to learn foreign languages much earlier in their education. Title VI/FH programs have been and will continue to be a foundation in the internationalization of higher education. Looking ahead, this internationalization has both a horizontal and a vertical dimen- sion. Horizontal implies even stronger reach into the professional schools, until Americaâs research universities are internationalized across the entire array of careers for which it is the training ground: careers not only in aca- demia itself, but also in elementary and secondary education, public service, business, law, medicine, social work, journalism, engineering, and so on. As university education comes to demand such perspectives and skills, high schools will adjust accordingly. This horizontal internationalization should be one of the next great tasks of the Title VI/FH tradition. The other great challenge is in the vertical reach, which should be calibrated to what research universities are best suited to do. What uni- versities can do best in public outreach is to prepare undergraduates and professional school enrollees to become new kinds of leaders in whatever career track they choose; what universities can do best for K-12 education is the teaching of teachers, the preparation of curriculum and instructional material, and the establishment of standards. Chapter 4 outlines a specific recommendation that ED should provide incentives for more formal col- laborations between Title VI/FH universities and colleges of education. Both the horizontal and vertical broadening of Title VI/FH should involve teaching international subjectsâsuch as history, geography, and the study of globalization itselfâas well as language instruction. As federal efforts
230 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES to infuse foreign languages into the elementary and secondary curriculum gain momentum (such as through NSLI), and high school graduates start to move to college with a higher language base, higher education will respond in turn by providing more advanced language courses. At present, Title VI/FH programs cannot be expected to play a major role in both horizontal and vertical broadening on their own, given the meager resources available to accomplish these tasks. Significantly more resources are needed for these programs in order to realize the potential of horizontal and vertical integration. In addition, the resources provided to higher education must be coordinated with those available to K-12 and with those of other federal agencies, paying attention to the priorities of each in light of current education, national security, and other needs. In the committeeâs view, however, the combined current resources of these programs pale in comparison to the task of internationalizing throughout BOX 12-1 Components of the Proposed National Security Language Initiative In K-12 education, the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), as proposed, would â¢ rovide $24 million to ED for the study of critical languages by refocusing the For- P eign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grants. â¢ rovide $27 million for a new program at ED to build continuous programs of study P of critical languages from kindergarten to university. The program would start with 27 schools and be based on the National Security Education Programâs (NSEP) National Flagship Language Initiative K-16 pilot programs. â¢ reate a new scholarship program at the State Department for summer, academic C year/semester study abroad, and short-term opportunities for high school students studying critical languages. The goal is to reach 3,000 high school students by summer 2009. â¢ stablish a new component in the State Departmentâs Fulbright-Hays program to E annually assist 100 U.S. teachers of critical languages to study abroad. â¢ stablish language study âfeederâ programs under the director of national intel- E ligence. These would be grants and initiatives with K-16 educational institutions to provide summer student and teacher immersion experiences, academic courses and curricula, and other resources. The goal is to reach 400 students and 400 teachers in 5 states in 2007 and up to 3,000 students and 3,000 teachers by 2011 in additional states. To increase the number of foreign language teachers, NSLI would â¢ stablish a National Language Service Corps for Americans with proficiencies in E
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE 231 the education system and across relevant disciplines, including professional education. NSLI The Bush administration, through its National Security Language Ini- tiative, has proposed a set of new programs and activities aimed at increas- ing national capacity in critical languages, with a focus on the K-12 system. The initiative recognizes the need for more foreign language instruction at the K-12 level, as well as a seamless continuum from K-12 through college. The proposed initiative would scatter new programs throughout ED, the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Defense (DoD), and even the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and also provide targeted funding for existing programs (see Box 12-1 for specific components of the proposal). critical languages to serve the nation by working for the federal government, teach- ing at the K-12 level, or serving in a newly created Civilian Linguist Reserve Corps (CLRC). The program would spend $14 million in FY 2007 with the goal of having 1,000 volunteers in the CLRC and 1,000 teachers in schools before the end of the decade. â¢ stablish a new $1 million nationwide distance e-learning clearinghouse through ED E to deliver foreign language education resources to teachers and students across the country. â¢ xpand teacher-to-teacher seminars and training through a $3 million ED effort to E reach thousands of foreign language teachers in 2007. â¢ xpand the State Departmentâs Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant E Program, to allow 300 native speakers of critical languages to come to the United States to teach in universities and schools in 2006-2007. Other components of the initiative, aimed at increasing the number of advanced-level speakers of defined critical languages, include â¢ xpand NSEPâs National Flagship Language Initiative to a $13.2 million program E aiming to produce 2,000 advanced speakers of Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Persian, Hindi, and Central Asian languages by 2009. â¢ ncrease by 200 the number of annual Gilman Scholarships (State Department) I for financially needy undergraduates to study critical languages abroad by the year 2008. â¢ reate a new State Department summer immersion study program for up to 275 C university-level students per year in critical languages. â¢ dd overseas language study to 150 U.S. Fulbright student scholarships annually. A â¢ ncrease support for immersion language study centers abroad. I SOURCE: Powell and Lowenkron (2006).
232 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES The Title VI/FH programs have been identified in public presenta- tions as a building block for NSLI, and Title VI grantees are recognized as logically competent potential applicants for some of the new programs. However, of the multiple requested NSLI resources, only the e-learning clearinghouse is proposed to be conducted under Title VI/FH, despite the fact that some of the activities appear to overlap with those conducted via Title VI/FH. If funded as envisioned, NSLI will significantly increase the role of other agencies in language training, particularly at the K-12 level. Although as of this writing NSLI has not yet received targeted fund- ing, various departments have realigned existing funds to begin to achieve NSLI objectives. For example, DoD has already launched two K-16 critical language programs. As part of the National Security Education Programâs (NSEP) National Flagship Language Program, it gave a $700,000 grant to the University of Oregon and the Portland Public Schools for an immersion Chinese program for students starting in elementary school. The language study program follows an articulated curriculum that continues through college. Scholarships are available for those students who want to pursue the study of Chinese at the University of Oregon. A similar program was started at Michigan State University and the Dearborn Public Schools for the creation of a K-16 Arabic curriculum. Again, instruction starts at the elementary school level, with scholarships available for students to continue at Michigan State University. ED is supplementing the Michigan program with a Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant to the Lansing and Dearborn public schools to support the teaching of Chinese and Arabic. Both the University of Oregon and Michigan State University also operate Language Resource Centers (LRCs) under Title VI. According to David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, although DoD will fund the initial K-16 projects, the hope is that NSLI will allow ED to take up the challenge they have begun and fund 90 or so additional K-16 programs. ED Role As part of the K-12 component of the NSLI, ED implemented a com- petitive priority for critical languages in the FY 2006 FLAP competition and awarded 12.9 million in grants to school districts in 22 states to help increase the number of Americans learning foreign languages deemed criti- cal to national security and commerce (October 13, 2006, ED press release). â FLAP provides resources to elementary and secondary school districts. Until NSEPâs Na- tional Flagship Initiative and NSLI, it was the only federal funding that supported elementary and secondary programs. â FLAP provides resources to elementary and secondary school districts for foreign language study. It is not part of Title VI or Fulbright-Hays (see Chapter 2).
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE 233 It has also begun plans for a summer teacher training seminar. Both DoD and ED are positioning themselves to expand the study of critical languages at the K-12 level. EDâs focus on critical languages was controversial, how- ever, because of concern that this would narrow the nationâs language competency by reducing existing capacity in other languages over the lon- ger term. Although there are universities with National Resource Centers (NRC) or Language Resource Centers (LRC) funding in all but three of the states receiving FLAP funds, there has been no apparent effort to encourage coordination of their expertise. As the federal agency with clear responsibility for education issues, ED should have a more visible presence in directing efforts aimed at education, particularly K-12 education. EDâs priorities have changed over time, with international education and foreign languages just beginning to reemerge as a national priority. The new NSLI provides an opportunity for ED not only to take the lead among its federal partners but also to improve coordination of the programs within its own department that deal with these issues. Given its pressing need for people with skills in critical languages, DoD appears to be quite motivated to step into the vacuum and directly support K-12 language programs. Language programs at DoD (and the State Department as well) are overseen at a senior level in the agency and are systematically and clearly integrated in their strategic thinking, as evidenced by their Defense Language Transformation Roadmap (U.S. De- partment of Defense, 2005). This document reiterates assumptions about the U.S. militaryâs future global reach and their implications for the DoDâs language needs, and then lays out a clear series of goals that serve to meet these anticipated needs. Thus, DoDâs language plans are connected to future security needs. The DoD official responsible for carrying out these plans is at the underÂsecretary level. By contrast, international education programs at ED appear to have a lower priority; they are not integrated into long-term goals, like those of DoD, and are administered at the lowest possible office level in the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), with several reporting levels between them and the Executive Office staff. FLAP, which provides resources to elementary and secondary schools, is administered by the Office of English Language Acquisition, a parallel office to OPE. There appears to be little formal opportunity for collaboration or coordination between them, and certainly nothing in the departmentâs strategic plan or other public docu- ments connects the missions of the two offices. NEW DEMANDS AND OPPORTUNITIES As ED and other agencies implement new initiatives, issues related to language proficiency assessment will become more pronounced. Similarly, although Title VI universities have used technology to support their inter-
234 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES nationalization and foreign language goals, advances in this area have taken place at a phenomenal pace. For example, technology provides new op- portunities for both conducting instruction and implementing foreign lan- guage assessments. Harnessing these issues in ways that will best advance internationalization goals and support the needs of the multiple involved federal agencies will require targeted and strategic direction. Expanded Foreign Language Assessment Needs The needs for assessments of foreign language proficiency that meet accepted measurement standards (see American Educational Research As- sociation et al., 1999) have expanded greatly since the 1950s when the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) developed a ratings scale and oral proficiency test and the Title VI/FH programs were launched (see Appendix D for a historical summary). Given the various initiatives in the government to in- crease national capacity in foreign languages and the numbers of individu- als learning a critical foreign language to more advanced levels, existing needs can be expected to increase at an even more rapid rate than in the past 50 years. There is and is likely to continue to be an increasing need to certify the language proficiency of government personnel, both civilian and military, for different specific contexts and different activities of language use (listen- ing, speaking, reading), in a wide range of languages, from elementary to advanced levels. Businesses will also need assurance that their employees or prospective employees who will be interacting with speakers of languages other than English have the level of language proficiency desired and the appropriate level of cultural sensitivity. Colleges and universities that train language teachers continue to need assessments to certify their professional competence in the language they will be teaching. With the increasing requirements for government employees, particu- larly in DoD, to develop proficiency from elementary to more advanced lev- els in a range of foreign languages, government language schools will face an increasing need for language assessments to diagnose studentsâ strengths and challenges and to make decisions about achievement and progress. As universities seek to train more students to more advanced levels, they will also require more refined and accurate assessment tools. In addition, although much attention has been paid to assessing speaking proficiency, needed language competencies (e.g., reading, writing, speaking) vary greatly both across government agencies and positions and across students. Tools need to be available appropriate to these various purposes. Finally, given the increased amounts of government resources likely to be going into foreign language instruction in the coming years, there is likely to be a concomitant need for greater accountability. The congres-
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE 235 sional call for this study is but one indicator of the federal governmentâs requirement for accountabilityâin this case, for federal funds granted to colleges and universities through the Title VI/FH programs. In K-12 educa- tion, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 already provides a strong ac- countability mechanism for the core curriculum; as more federal funds are invested in K-12 language instruction, a similar accountability mechanism will be required. This will necessitate the development of assessments of foreign language proficiency that meet accepted professional standards. New Approach to Language Assessment Needed The most common approach to language proficiency assessment in both government and academia is an oral interview. The original oral pro- ficiency interview (OPI) was developed by FSI and was specifically designed to certify the language proficiency of Foreign Service officers. The develop- ment of the original FSI scales was informed by expertise in languages and linguistics and by accepted psychometric standards and practice. During the initial years of their use, qualified measurement specialists were directly involved in conducting research to improve and better understand the rat- ings. As the OPI became more widely used in other government agencies for other purposes, the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) assumed primary responsibility for what is now called the ILR oral proficiency rating scale, a uniform scale used across agencies. The committee was told that DoD has efforts under way to develop alternative assessment approaches to address its varied needs. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) adapted the oral proficiency approach to an academic setting, and its rat- ings came to be widely accepted, although dissemination was limited by the expense and time required to reliably administer the exams using certified examiners. In developing its instrument, ACTFL relied on the credibility of FSIâs OPI, initially conducting none of its own research to ensure that the basic measurement qualities of the assessment generalized from a govern- ment to an academic context. Healthy debate about use of the OPI has continued even while the ILR and ACTFL approaches have become more widely used in government and academia, respectively. There is general consensus that the OPI has shifted attention in academia toward teaching for oral proficiency. In addition to the ACTFL and ILR OPI, there are a variety of newer, technology-based approaches to assessing oral proficiency that have been developed to help lower some of the administrative costs of face-to-face interviews, many of which are based on the ACTFL OPI (Malone, 2006). For example, in 1986, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) developed the simulated oral proficiency interview (SOPI), a tape-mediated assess-
236 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES ment. Since then, the SOPI has been widely used, and CAL is working to operationalize a CD-ROM-based semidirect test of oral proficiency, the Computerized Oral Proficiency Instrument (COPI) in Spanish and Arabic. While some research has indicated that ratings from SOPIs and standard face-to-face interviews are highly correlated (e.g., Kenyon and Tschirner, 2000; Stansfield and Kenyon, 1992), and that an individual is likely to receive the same rating whether tested face-to-face or over the telephone (Swender, 2003), very little research has been conducted on the effects of other computer- and web-based delivery systems on the performance of test takers. At this point in the field of testing, very little is known about the effects of these technologies on the reliability, validity, or fairness of assess- ments. One cannot simply assume that delivering these assessments with the latest technology, in different formats, with different tasks and input, rather than in a face-to-face interview, will have no effect on test takersâ performance or on ratersâ ratings (Chapelle, 1997, 2003; Bachman, 2004; Canale, 1986). In response to the expense and time needed to conduct an OPI, as well as the limited availability of assessment tools for some of the less com- monly taught languages, ED prompted LRCs to develop new approaches to foreign language assessment. ED also encouraged NRCs to measure the language proficiency of their Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) students. Multiple efforts have emerged, but it is unclear if these efforts are being conducted with a strategic vision, with the necessary measurement expertise to ensure that their assessments will be reliable and valid, or with adequate funding. In some cases, centers have used collaborations or con- sultative mechanisms to bring in necessary expertise. In others, given their very limited funding, they may have to rely on faculty and staff who are also busy working on other projects in language teaching or curriculum and materials development, in addition to language assessment. These recent ED-funded efforts to improve foreign language proficiency assessments have suffered from both a lack of adequate resources and a dif- fusion of the Title VI/FH resources available. Looking at the current proj- ects aimed at developing new assessments of foreign language proficiency at Title VI centers, a general pattern of expertise is evident: content specialists, who include linguists as well as language teachers with varying degrees of understanding of second language acquisition and language pedagogy, are often well supported in terms of technical (computer/web programming) staff, but typically there are no staff with expertise in measurement or lan- guage testing. One exception is the projects involving CAL, which has had a long history of developing foreign language assessments, and which has also always had staff with professional expertise in language testing and measurementâbut its reach is limited. The ILR and ACTFL versions of the OPI and the associated rating
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE 237 scales are regarded by many as a âgold standardâ for language assessment in government and academia, respectively, and the interrater reliability of the ACTFL OPI is well established when administered using a certified tester. However, assessment experts concur that issues about comparability across contexts, validity, and feasibility make these instruments difficult to use as a sole common metric across languages and contexts. (Box 12-2 summarizes the major issues with the OPI that suggest the need for new research and development.) There is also consensus that there is no obvi- ous, currently available alternative. Furthermore, despite progress resulting from work by ACTFL and others, including Title VI centers, scales are still not available for many of the less commonly taught languages taught by Title VI programs. Given the diversity of languages, programs, and needs, a common metric presents serious challenges to the field of foreign language assessment. The nationâs needs for expertise in foreign languages have diversified and expanded since the current approaches to assessment were developed. Progress has been made since FSI was first developed, and multiple efforts are under way to attempt to address the limitations of prevailing ap- proaches. However, additional strategic work is vitally needed to develop assessment approaches that are affordable; address multiple contexts and new languages; reflect current knowledge of languages, language pedagogy, and language assessment; and draw on advances in technology. Technology and Instruction Over the past 50 years, Title VI has helped build a national human infrastructure for retaining expertise and delivering instruction in foreign languages, particularly less commonly taught languages, and in area and international studies. These instructional programs and expertise, however, are still largely confined to the physical locality of university campuses. Because of the scarcity of instructional resources and personnel in less commonly taught languages and the relatively small number of students interested in a given language, it would be of tremendous benefit both eco- nomically and pedagogically to develop ways for programs to extend these resources and personnel to students enrolled in other universities through the use of technology. For example, Title VI/FH programs could make their courses available to other universities via teleconferencing and other â See Appendix D for an explanation of the scales used by ACTFL and ILR and an illustrative example of the descriptors used in applying the scale. â The European Union has also undertaken substantial efforts to establish standards for lan- guage qualifications through its Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (see http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/CADRE_EN.asp). The committee did not fully explore the reliability or validity of this approach.
238 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES BOX 12-2 Oral Proficiency Interview Issues There are several issues with the oral proficiency interview that suggest the need for additional research and development on proficiency measurement approaches: Validity:â A number of concerns have been raised regarding the validity of the ACTFL scaleâthat, is, the extent to which evidence and theory support the interpretation of the ratings (Chaloub-Deville and Fulcher, 2003). For example, it has been objected that the ACTFL guidelines were constructed based on intuitive judgments rather than on any documented collection or analysis of empirical evidence about how competence in a second language actually develops (Fulcher, 1996b). After over 50 years of use, debate about the validity of the ILR and ACTFL scales continues (Chalhoub-Deville and Fulcher, 2003; Arnett and Haglund, 2001; Bachman and Savignon, 1986). Reliability:â Investigations of the quality of the OPI have focused primarily on interrater reliability or consistency (Chalhoub-Deville and Fulcher, 2003). The research generally supports the consistency of ratings across multiple raters when the OPI is administered and scored by certified ILR or ACTFL examiners (Malone, 2003; Surface and Dierdorff, 2003). However, research has also suggested potential sources of inconsistency, or unreliability, based on the questions or prompts used by the examiner. The questions or prompts asked during an OPI are, by design, tailored for different examinees, and little research has investigated the reliability of ratings across different questions or prompts (that is, whether an examinee would earn virtually the same rating had he or she been given an alternative prompt). Research has found that the largest sources of measurement error in performance assessments of speaking are due to inconsisten- cies across different assessment tasks, interactions between test takers and tasks or between raters and tasks, rather than to inconsistencies among raters (e.g., Lynch and McNamara, 1998; Bachman et al., 1995). Similar issues have been reported in the educational measurement literature with respect to a wide range of performance as- sessments (e.g., Brennan et al., 1995; Lane et al., 1996; Lynch and McNamara, 1998; Shavelson et al., 1999; Stecher et al., 2000; van Weeren and Theunissen, 1987). This potential reliability issue has not been adequately researched. Conversational language:â The claim that the OPI assesses authentic conversational language was questioned nearly 30 years ago by a former director of the Foreign Ser- vice Institute, who stated then that âone of the principal limitations is the inability of this system [the OPI] to make meaningful judgments or to measure the most significant ob- jective of human speechâeffective communicationâ (Sollenberger, 1978, pp. 7-8). The OPI claim has also been seriously challenged more recently by applied linguists work- ing in conversation and discourse analysis (e.g., papers in Young and He, 1998). electronic media. In addition, once less commonly taught language courses are made available online, it is expected that more students will become aware of those languages and the chances of more students learning less commonly taught languages will likely increase. In fact, our review found that some Title VI/FH programs have al-
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE 239 Nature of language ability:â When the original FSI OPI was developed, oral language ability was viewed, within the then current literature on psychological abilities, as an essentially unitary trait (Lowe, 1988). The dominant view among language testing researchers now is that language, like many other psychological abilities, is multicom- ponential (e.g., Chapelle et al., 1997; Chalhoub-Deville, 1996; Fulcher, 1996; Hudson et al., 1992; Bachman, 1990; Canale, 1984; Vollmer and Sang, 1983). Because this research rejects the original theoretical basis of the holistic rating for the OPI, ques- tions are raised about the validity of interpretations of language ability based on the ratings. Developmental scale:â Finally, the claim that the oral proficiency rating scales repre- sent a progression of second language acquisition has also been repeatedly challenged by a number of researchers in second language acquisition (e.g., Lantolf and Frawley, 1985, 1988; Pienemann et al., 1988). Indeed, current research and experience in sec- ond language acquisition strongly support the idea that second language development is neither purely linear nor uniform but consists of a series of starts, stops, spurts, and plateaus and varies considerably across contexts and from learner to learner (e.g., Bayley and Preston, 1996; Markee, 2006; Tarone, 2000; Young, 2002). Comparability in ratings:â To date, there is virtually no research that demonstrates the comparability of ILR or ACTFL ratings across languages and contexts (see Thompson, 1991, for a discussion of some of the problems of adapting the ACTFL scales across languages). The challenge of ensuring that a level 3 is the same in Russian, Arabic, and Chinese, for example, or that a level 2 in speaking is the same as a level 2 in reading has long been recognized in government agencies but has not yet been adequately addressed. Expense and limited availability:â Although some NRCs reported to the committee that they use certified ACTFL OPI testers to assess their studentsâ language proficiency, among those that do not, the most common reasons given included the expense and resources involved (see Malone, 2006, for more about the financial burden). Faculty and staff reported that the cost of getting certified as an ACTFL OPI examiner in a particular language was prohibitive, given the constraints of their budgets. Furthermore, many of the individuals with whom we spoke said that neither they nor their fellow language instructors had the time to administer and score individual oral interviews to all of their students. The other commonly expressed reason was that an ACTFL OPI is not yet available in many of the languages that are taught, particularly the less commonly taught ones. ready organized summer cross-campus programs for less commonly taught languages to bring students from multiple universities. Some programs have also been using videoconference facilities to deliver courses to remote campuses or to share resources. For example, Indiana University, which has a Uzbek program, is making it available to other universities, so that
240 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES more students can take the course. Ohio State University also has an Uzbek instructor, enabling the two instructors to codevelop courses and offer a greater variety of them, instead of each teaching the same course to a very small number of students. However, there is no national infrastructure to support this type of effort systematically, so they have remained fragmented and not institutionalized and thus may easily disappear. Over the past decade or so, information and communication tech- nologies have advanced dramatically and become widely available. Large quantities of live and archived content in many languages are easily avail- able online. Young people, so-called digital natives, are very accustomed to using technology for entertainment and learning. In addition, research and development efforts in technology and language instruction over the past two decades have accumulated sufficient insights about effective ways to deliver language learning using technology. The opportunity is thus ripe to develop large-scale language learning platforms that can be adapted to support learning and instruction of many languages. Language Platforms Despite the uniqueness of different languages and the individuality of different language teaching approaches, there are very basic and universal elements that all language learning activities can use to support the work of language instructors. For example, all language learning must start with exposure to high-quality input in the target language and culture. Language learners must first be able to interact with content in the target language. Such interactions typically start comprehension of the target language con- tent, which can come in different formsâvideo, audio, text, or a combina- tion of them (multimedia and multimodal). Digital technology can be used to facilitate comprehension and enhance acquisition at this stage. For example, the ability to control the speed of video and audio can help the learner better comprehend the content, as does the ability to quickly access the meaning of words and grammar. Tech- nological tools that enable the learner to memorize vocabulary, complete grammatical exercises, and practice pronunciation can also be built to assist comprehension and learning. Given the nature of digital content, these tools can be language independentâthat is, separate from the language under considerationâbecause the content is digital and thus can be manipulated with generic tools. These tools can be used differently under different lan- guage teaching and learning approaches. The commonalities of technological functions designed to assist lan- guage learning can be observed in many current language teaching soft- ware applications. While differences exist among todayâs different language software, most of it mimics the process of language teaching and shares a
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE 241 set of common functions: modeling the target language (input), offering practicing opportunities (exercises output), providing feedback on student performance (feedback), and keeping track of student progress and the learning process. It is also evident that the large foreign language software makers, such as Rosetta Stone and Auralog, use a similar set of functions to teach a variety of languages. The benefits of common technology platforms have been demonstrated by the popularity of large online learning management systems, such as WebCT, Blackboard, and Moodle. These systems provide a set of common tools to support instruction in all sorts of subject areas for a variety of instructional settings, enabling instructors to focus on content and teach- ing instead of technology and thus making it possible for hundreds of thousands of instructors to deliver their own content without being tech- nologically proficient. Moodle, an open source course management system, for example, has over 130,000 registered teachers serving over 1 million students in over 100 countries. There is a long tradition of developing tools for foreign language teachers to develop computer-based courses. Today, there are many such tools available. For example, the University of Wisconsinâs Multimedia An- notator and the Multimedia Lesson Builder can be used to develop video- based language lessons. Hot Potatoes is a popular tool used to develop web-based foreign language quizzes. WordChamp.com is a tool that helps students learn vocabulary, provides instant feedback, and tracks results, allowing teachers to assess progress. However, a number of problems prevent the effective use of technology in language teaching for Title VI/FH programs. First, in general, commer- cial software companies pay attention only to languages that have a large market share. While that is an understandable business decision, it means that the less commonly taught languages of most concern to Title VI/FH programs are left out. In addition, very often the proprietary platform of commercial software developers is not publicly available, so the Title VI/FH community cannot take advantage of their systems. Second, the generally available course/learning management systems do not provide language learning functions. Third, the publicly available tools have limited function- ality because they typically focus on part of the whole language learning and teaching process. An integration of all available tools might lead to an effective language learning system, but such integration cannot happen â See http://moodle.org/stats/. â See http://llt.msu.edu/vol5num2/emerging/default.html. â See http://llt.msu.edu/vol5num2/emerging/default.html. â See http://hotpot.uvic.ca/. â See http://www.wordchamp.com/lingua2/Splash.do.
242 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES easily, because it requires smooth data communications and interface syn- chronization. This is not possible if technical and communications experts are not a part of the team creating the language learning and teaching platform. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The Title VI/FH programs have served as a foundation in the interna- tionalization of higher education and should continue to do so. However, since the programs were created more than 50 years ago, demands for foreign language and cultural expertise have expanded both horizontally in the higher education system and vertically with other components of the education system. Although the need for internationalization of busi- ness has been apparent for some time, other professional disciplines face similar needs. Given current resources, the Title VI/FH programs alone are ill-equipped to respond to this range of increased needs. C onclusion: Given the recognized lack of knowledge about foreign cultures and foreign languages, additional resources are needed for an integrated and articulated approach in multiple systems, includ- ing K-12, higher education, and business, to help address this critical shortcoming. The federal government has begun efforts to stimulate introduction of foreign languages at an earlier age, with a particular focus on what are considered critical languages, through NSEPâs National Flagship Language Program and the Bush administrationâs proposed National Security Lan- guage Initiative. ED has targeted its Foreign Language Assistance Program toward critical languages. However, international education and foreign languages have only recently emerged as an apparent ED priority, although their role in relation to other ED priorities or the needs of other federal agencies has not yet been clearly defined and articulated. Similarly, ED has not fully considered how it will maximize the infrastructure and knowledge built over the past few years by the Title VI/FH programs. The current organization of international and foreign language programs in the depart- ment significantly hampers its ability to effectively and coherently address any of these issues. C onclusion:â The Department of Education has not made foreign lan- guage and cultures a clear priority and its several programs appear to be fragmented. There is no apparent Department master plan or unify- ing strategic vision.
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE 243 Recommendation 12.1:â The Department of Education should con- solidate oversight of its international education and foreign language programs under an executive-level person who would also provide strategic direction and consult and coordinate with other federal agen- cies. The position should be one that requires presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. The priority of international education programs at ED should be raised and all programs (e.g., Title VI/FH, FLAP, NSLI) with an emphasis on foreign language, area, and international education should be consoli- dated under an executive-level person who reports directly to the secretary. The person appointed to this new position also should coordinate ED pro- grams with those of other federal agencies, such as the State Department and DoD, and have lead responsibility for developing and implementing a new strategic vision and overseeing the biennial report recommended be- low. Raising the status of the programs is vital to demonstrate clearly the importance of foreign languages and other area and international educa- tion to ED and put direction and oversight of the programs at a level more comparable to the level of oversight at other key agencies. For example, NSLI and other foreign language initiatives are overseen at the DoD by an undersecretary and at the State Department by an assistant secretary, both executive-level positions. In contrast, the programmatic, planning, and stra- tegic functions at ED related to foreign language, area, and international issues are currently dispersed across a range of offices and individuals; the Title VI programs specifically are at the lowest organizational level within ED possible. Consolidation and elevation of these functions is needed to achieve the goals of Title VI and related programs. The Department of Education Organization Act (P.L. 96-88), which established ED, identified âfunctions related to encouraging and promoting the study of foreign languages and the study of cultures of other countries at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levelsâ as ones that should be performed by a politically appointed ED officer. To do so effectively, the programs and initiatives currently scattered throughout ED should be consolidated under a single, strategic unit. The person responsible for these programs will need to be supported by adequate staff and resources to ac- complish their strategic vision. ED might consider approaches that would enable it to enhance its expertise by hiring subject experts as consultants or temporary personnel in addition to adequate core staff. In Chapter 11, the committee recommended the formation of a new system to facilitate continuous improvement, involving ED, Title VI center representatives, and senior university staff. The presence of a senior-level decision maker, with the authority to implement mutually agreed-on ap- proaches to program improvement that result from this system, is essential.
244 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES In addition, it would also provide a focal point for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education system, business, foreign language, and area studies communities to share input for consideration by ED in strategic planning and the setting of priorities. Input from these sources would pro- vide the necessary input to enable ED to develop a well-informed strategic master plan aimed at addressing a range of international education and foreign language issues. Implementing such a plan requires the involvement of a leader with the authority to leverage all appropriate departmental resources. In establishing the duties of this office, particular attention should be paid to support for integrated and articulated approaches that support long-term acquisition of advanced levels of foreign language competency and knowledge about language acquisition and related cultures, consistent with the goals of the proposed NSLI. In short, the holder of this office should be concerned with thinking and working strategically with other agencies about how to raise language competency levels and direct the relevant ED programs toward that goal. C onclusion:â There is currently no systematic, ongoing process for as- sessing national needs for foreign language, area, and international expertise and developing approaches to address those needs. Recommendation 12.2:â Congress should require the secretary of edu- cation, in consultation and coordination with the Departments of State and Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and other relevant agencies to submit a biennial report outlining national needs identified in foreign language, area, and international studies, plans for addressing these needs, and progress made. This report should be made available to the public. The production of such a report every two years would be sufficiently frequent to be useful while not overburdening the staff tasked with devel- oping the report. The report would create the opportunity to identify gaps and priorities, share information from different agencies on their respective needs and training efforts, and facilitate strategic planning across agencies, with an emphasis on the role of the elementary, secondary, and postsecond- ary education systems. It would bring together all of the federal agencies with a significant role in defining national needs for foreign language, area, and international expertise and in developing a system designed to address these needs. The committee notes, however, that coordination across agencies might be facilitated by a formal consultative mechanism in the White House.
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE 245 Once needs have been defined, relevant agencies should then consider how to address the needs and gaps more systematically through their own programs as well as through collaboration and coordination across programs. For example, while there appears to be consensus that foreign language learning needs to start in K-12, there is some debate about where resources should be targeted in higher education. FLAS Fellowship awards have in the past been available to undergraduates but are now limited by statute to graduate students. In contrast, NSEP fellow awards were initially targeted at graduate students and are now refocusing on undergraduates. The targeting of investments across all components of the education system is one issue such a report should address. Similarly, it should determine the appropriate balancing of federal resources for the complementary national needs for a broad reservoir of expertise in a wide variety of languages and areasâthe need that Title VI/FH programs are well positioned to ad- dressâand the need for a pipeline of experts into government positions. Although the committee strongly supports the need for language education beyond a set of critical languages defined at any particular point in time, the federal government may not need to be involved in supporting capacity in all 171 languages on the current list of critical Title VI languages. This task would be one for the agencies to consider in conjunction with experts in foreign languages, area, and international studies, perhaps as part of the continuous improvement process discussed in the previous chapter. This group of experts might be tasked with identifying criteria for widely teach- ing a language in K-12, ensuring that there is a core of scholarly activity in a range of core languages, and forming international networks of scholars who can respond to emerging needs. In addition, public release of this report will increase awareness and debate and provide an opportunity to share overall federal needs in area and international studies and foreign languages with the academic, educa- tion, and business communities. Communication of needs and available resources to the field has been identified as a need in itself. Its release would better inform Congress about the status of the programs to be used in deci- sions about funding and reauthorization. Some critics of the Title VI/FH programs have recommended an ad- visory board to oversee the program. Both the House and the Senate proposed variations of a board aimed at orienting the programs toward areas of national need, directing recipients into government service, and ensuring a diversity of perspectives in the Title VI NRCs, although this was never taken up by the full Congress. Significant controversy erupted, particularly as a result of early congressional proposals and questions about what specific authorities the board should be granted. In the committeeâs view, an advisory board is unlikely to accomplish the stated objectives and would just add another bureaucratic drain on the program. The committee
246 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES contends that elevating the status of the programs in ED, combined with requiring regular reporting to Congress, is more likely to effectively direct the programs. As mentioned above, establishment of a formal consultative mechanism in the White House might reinforce these efforts. The committee also encourages agencies to continue their support for staff-level efforts to identify and share best practices and solicit input from the field. The ILR, currently administered on an informal basis by the State Departmentâs Foreign Service Institute, is one possible mechanism for this effort. Foreign Language Assessment, Instruction, and Technology New demands resulting from increased federal interest in international education and foreign languages as well as new instruction and assessment opportunities provided by advancements in technology should push rel- evant federal agencies to think about new approaches. Foreign Language Assessment Title VI/FH programs have stimulated multiple and varied efforts to address the lack of common measures of language proficiency for use by NRCs, particularly for the less commonly taught languages. Despite these efforts, and given the lack of evidence to support the reliability and valid- ity of EDâs current approach to self-assessment as well as the inability to compare with other available scales, there is little conclusive evidence about proficiency levels achieved by FLAS recipients either overall or among the NRCs that teach the same languages. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to expect a program designed to support language study to measure changes in language proficiency. In addition, national trends aimed at both expand- ing language training in the K-12 system and producing highly proficient language experts for government service suggest that the need for new ap- proaches to language assessment will become even greater. In order to meet current and future assessment needs, the committee thinks that funding for both the research and development of assessments of foreign language proficiency, including appropriate application of tech- nology to these new assessments, as well as funding for their appropriate dissemination to the field, need to be increased. Tomorrowâs students will be even better versed in the use of technology than those of today, and they may fully expect to complete electronic assessments. The administrative efficiency of a well-designed assessment that meets professional standards would probably also be increased if implemented with the use of technol- ogy. Furthermore, the field of language assessment has been increasingly using computer and web-based technologies for developing and administer-
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE 247 ing language assessments. A considerable research base has emerged that investigates issues in applying these technologies to language assessment (e.g., Chapelle and Douglas, 2006; Bachman, 2004; Chalhoub-Deville, 1999). The committee also thinks that in order to make available to the field (government agencies, colleges and universities, and K-12 schools) as- sessments of language proficiency that are appropriate to the varied needs and contexts described in this chapter and that meet accepted professional standards, a critical mass of resourcesâincreased funding, appropriate levels and types of expertise, structural supportâmust be brought together in a single targeted resource. Technology and Instruction Technology has made tremendous advances over the past several de- cades. It continues to evolve, and new possibilities emerge all the time. The international education and foreign language community, including Title VI/FH programs, needs to take advantage of all the emerging possibilities. For example, concerted efforts must be made to develop comprehensive language learning and teaching platforms that can effectively take advan- tage of the possibilities of technology to enhance the instruction of foreign languages, especially less commonly taught languages. While not replacing the need for an instructor, these platforms can serve as the primary content development and delivery systems for Title VI/FH language programs. They can enable the development of technology-supported language instruction efficiently by assisting individual efforts resulting from the limited resources available. They can also free individual Title VI/FH programs from unneces- sarily devoting time to repetitive development of technology tools and focus their limited resources on content and instruction. A national technology in- frastructure could significantly enhance the nationâs capacity for education in critical and less commonly taught languages across the federal programs designed to teach them. C onclusion:â Current efforts to develop language assessments and to effectively apply developments in technology to language assessment and the support of language instruction suffer from a dispersion of resources. Recommendation 12.3:â The federal government should contract for a new National Foreign Language Assessment and Technology Project. The initial focus of the project should be research and development needed to design and implement a range of new technology-based methods for (1) assessing language proficiency and (2) supporting lan- guage instruction through the development of common platforms.
248 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES Strategic development of new approaches to foreign language assess- ment would benefit multiple federal agencies and the broader education sector. Similarly, seizing the opportunities for foreign language instruction and assessment posed by rapid advances in technology would be broadly beneficial. A project aimed at these opportunities might be advanced by collaboration among a consortium of multiple universities or organiza- tions. Over the longer term, the project might be tasked with coordinated investment in technologies aimed at advancing teacher training, materials development, and language instruction, particularly for languages with low enrollments, as discussed earlier in this report. To meet its goals, the new project (or its consortium members) would need to involve a range of expertise including second or foreign language acquisition, second or foreign language assessment (including expertise in statistics and measurement theory), language pedagogy, curriculum devel- opment, education psychology, education technology, instructional design, information systems, networking and databases, and digital media design and development. The project should be guided by an advisory group composed of repre- sentatives of existing Title VI/FH programs with foreign language instruc- tion and assessment needs, as well as representatives of key programs of other sponsoring federal agencies, to identify needs and provide services to them. The advisory group should also include a member who represents the continuous improvement process discussed in Chapter 11 to ensure that the centerâs work supports the goals, performance measurement approaches, and other activities endorsed by the continuous improvement effort. As the Title VI/FH programs face their next 50 years, they must be more closely aligned with other federal resources to ensure they operate in a complementary way that maximizes achievement of multiple goals. To effectively build on the programsâ multiple accomplishments, they must be collaboratively implemented with universities and other institutions and strategically structured to harness new opportunities and challenges. Although the programs have demonstrated some success in achieving the objectives articulated in the eight key areas, more meaningful performance measures and well-designed research and evaluation are needed to assess program accomplishments.