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Executive Summary A pervasive lack of knowledge about foreign cultures and foreign lan- guages threatens the security of the United States as well as its abil- ity to compete in the global marketplace and produce an informed citizenry. The U.S. education system has, in recent years, placed little value on speaking languages other than English or on understanding cultures other than oneâs own. Although there have been times in the countryâs his- tory when foreign languages were considered as important as mathematics and science, they have reemerged as a significant concern primarily after major events that presented immediate and direct threats to the countryâs future. Most recently, the events of September 11, 2001, compelled the federal government to reflect on the expertise of its personnel and to focus attention on the need for more and better language skills, particularly in certain languages considered critical. It would be shortsighted, however, to limit national attention to the needs of government alone. Language skills and cultural expertise are also urgently needed to address economic challenges and the strength of Ameri- can businesses in an increasingly global marketplace. Professions such as law, health care, social work, and education call out for an international dimension that reflects the changed world environment and increasingly diverse U.S. population. The U.S. education systemâfrom elementary and secondary school to higher educationâneeds the capacity to provide the requisite training. Higher education needs the capacity to serve as a re- source on the politics, economics, religions, and cultures of countries across the globe, countries whose positions on the world stage change over time, often in unpredictable ways. The Title VI and Fulbright-Hays (Title VI/FH)
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES programs are designed to help to serve these broader societal and educa- tional goals as well as to help respond to specific government needs. During the most recent reauthorization debates related to the Higher Education Act, questions were raised about one set of programs that are designed to help address these needsâthe Title VI programs of the Higher Education Act and the education component of the Fulbright-Hays Act. In response, at the request of Congress, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) asked the National Research Council to review the adequacy and effectiveness of these programs in addressing their statutory missions and in building the nationâs international and foreign language expertiseâpar- ticularly as needed for economic, foreign affairs, and national security pur- posesâand to provide recommendations to enhance future effectiveness. The committee was asked to consider eight key areas specified by Congress in conducting its review. (Box ES-1 presents a list of the eight.) The Title VI/FH programs were created nearly 50 years ago in response to concerns raised by the Soviet Unionâs launch of Sputnik and at the time consisted of three programs: the National Resource Centers (NRC), the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships, and International Research and Studies. As a result of reauthorization every six years, pro- grams were added to Title VI to address business needs for international expertise, to improve the programsâ reach to undergraduate education, to BOX ES-1 Key Areas Identified by Congress 1. Infusing a foreign language and area studies dimension throughout the education system and across relevant disciplines, including professional education. 2. Conducting public outreach/dissemination to K-12 and higher education, media, government, business, and the public. 3. Reducing shortages of foreign language and area experts. 4. Supporting research, education, and training in foreign languages and international studies, including opportunities for such research, education, and training overseas. 5. Producing relevant instructional materials that meet accepted scholarly standards. 6. Advancing uses of new technology in foreign language and international studies. 7. Addressing business needs for international knowledge and foreign lan- guage skills. 8. Increasing the numbers of underrepresented minorities in international service.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY focus on international studies as well as area studies, to create new centers focused on language support overseas research centers, to advance technol- ogy use, and to bring individuals from minority groups into international service professions. Today there are 10 programs under Title VI and 4 programs under Fulbright-Hays. The legislative history of Title VI has consistently affirmed the connection between language preparation and area scholarship and has adopted a broad focus on creating globally aware students in a range of disciplines. The committeeâs review of the programs was hampered by the paucity of rigorous, reliable information on program performance, particularly related to the impacts or outcomes of the programs. The performance measures used by the ED and aggregate annual data reported by grantees provided insufficient information to judge program performance. Also, there have been few well-designed program evaluations that systematically measure outcomes. In reaching our conclusions, the committee relied on the combined weight of the few program evaluation studies, public testimony, historical funding data, grantee data, select commissioned analyses, and a series of site visits to universities that receive Title VI funding. In many cases, however, the limited evidence available did not support making spe- cific recommendations related to the specified key areas. The committee concluded that the Title VI/FH programs have served as a foundation for internationalization in higher education. Federal funding, sometimes through the priorities set by the ED for individual competitions, has served as a catalyst for language or area studies initiatives in higher education, with a frequent focus on advanced study of less commonly taught languages. Universities themselves have invested significant resources beyond those provided by the ED. The programs have built substantial capacity in the teaching of less commonly taught languages, with Title VI NRCs across the nation offering instruction in more than 250 less com- monly taught languages. The programs have also developed instructional and other materials that are used by academia, K-12 education, and gov- ernment. Box ES-2 presents the committeeâs specific conclusions related to future program effectiveness as well as with regard to the eight areas specified by Congress. Nevertheless, Title VI/FH funding, including staff resources, has not kept pace with the expansion in the mission of the programs. While many new programs and objectives have been added since Title VI began, fund- ing in real dollars has not increased proportionately. Not only is there a need for additional resources to match the growing mission of Title VI/FH programs, but there is also a need to expand support for foreign language, area, and international studies throughout the education system. These relatively small programs cannot be expected on their own to address the wide range of needs throughout the entire K-16 education system, as well
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES BOX ES-2 Conclusions Related to Enhancing Future Program Effectiveness â¢ ED has not made foreign language and culture a priority and its several programs appear to be fragmented. There is no apparent department master plan or unifying strategic vision. â¢ Given the recognized lack of knowledge about foreign cultures and foreign lan- guages, additional resources are needed for an integrated and articulated approach in multiple systems, including K-12, higher education, and business, to help address this critical shortcoming. â¢ There is currently no systematic, ongoing process for assessing national needs for foreign language, area, and international expertise and developing approaches to address those needs. â¢ Current efforts to develop language assessments and to effectively apply develop- ments in technology to language assessment and the support of language instruction suffer from a dispersion of resources. â¢ The current data reporting system for Title VI/FH programs (Evaluation of Exchange, Language, International and Area Studies database [EELIAS]) is inadequate, is diffi- cult to use and has significant consistency problems as well as a lack of transparency in the data collected. â¢ At the present time, limited information is available to rigorously assess the outcomes and impacts of the Title VI/FH programs, and the nature of the funding (partial fund- ing of a larger set of activities) makes it difficult to assess outcomes and impacts. â¢ Sharing successful grant applications could improve future competitions and contrib- ute to a continual improvement process. Conclusions Related to the Eight Key Areas Infusing a foreign language and area studies dimension and conducting outreach (Key Areas 1 and 2) â¢ NRC and Language Resource Centers have developed multiple and varied methods for reaching out to the K-12 system, particularly to current K-12 teachers. Within the constraints of limited funds, they also attempt to reach out to other audiences. â¢ The need for teachers with foreign language and international expertise is great. as those of business, government, and the public. Additional resources are needed to develop an integrated and articulated approach in multiple sys- tems, beginning in K-12, to help address this critical shortcoming. The current administration recently announced the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI) to increase the nationâs capacity to provide ex- perts with critical language skillsâin languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Farsi/Dari, Hindi/Urdu and Turkicâdetermined to be vital to national
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Reducing shortages of foreign language and area experts (Key Area 3) â¢ The language proficiency of FLAS Fellowships recipients is not at present being adequately assessed. â¢ Although overseas study has been shown to increase speaking proficiency, EDâs policies discourage full-year overseas study by FLAS recipients. Supporting research, education, and training (Key Area 4) â¢ The Title VI/FH programs have enhanced the body of knowledge about foreign lan- guages and area studies. â¢ The Title VI/FH programs make a significant contribution to the teaching of less com- monly taught languages in particular. Producing relevant instructional materials (Key Area 5) â¢ The Title VI/FH programs develop a variety of instructional and assessment materials, with many aimed at developing proficiency in less commonly taught languages. â¢ Although there are no uniform scholarly standards for instructional materials, there are widely accepted âbest practiceâ approaches to materials development that are disseminated by professional associations and journals. Advancing uses of new technology (Key Area 6) â¢ Title VI/FH programs are using available technologies, such as the Internet and dis- tance learning, but they could do more to maximize the potential created by current technologies. Addressing business needs (Key Area 7) â¢ The legal requirement for business involvement in Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) boards provides an appropriate mechanism for business input into the program to enable it to address business needs. The CIBER and Business and International Education (BIE) programs appear to act as resources for the larger business education community, providing resources to business edu- cation programs that are interested in developing capacity to support teaching and research on business issues. â¢ The CIBER has created a network for sharing information and learning from each othersâ experiences that is a model for the other Title VI/FH programs. Increasing the numbers of underrepresented minorities (Key Area 8) â¢ The Institute for International Public Policy, designed to increase the representation of minorities in international service, has so far produced few graduates who entered international service and would be likely to benefit from a redesign of its program. However, it should not be the sole Title VI/FH program concerned with increasing the number of minorities. security and foreign policy. The initiative draws on evidence suggesting that mastery of these less commonly taught languages requires many years of study and that learning should begin at an early age. This initiative would provide resources for programs at the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Defense (DoD), the Office of the Director of National Intel- ligence, and ED, many of them aimed at increasing the number of teachers of critical languages or increasing the number of young students studying
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES critical languages. Although the initiative has not yet been funded, several federal agencies have refocused the resources of existing programs toward these critical languages. When ED targeted resources toward critical languages under its For- eign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) (a program complementary to Title VI/FH that provides resources to elementary and secondary schools), outside groups expressed concern that such a narrow focus would be det- rimental to the foreign language field. The critical, strategic world areas, and the languages people in those areas speak, are not always predictable. Having the capacity to respond to new and unanticipated challenges re- quires maintaining capacity in a broad range of languages. The committee concluded that, while greater infusion of foreign languages and cultural instruction is vitally needed in K-12 education, too narrow a focus on a small set of languages in either K-12 or higher education could be detri- mental to the country. Although international education has begun to emerge as a concern in ED, strategic coordination either in the department or with other federal agencies has not. The Title VI/FH programs are not currently administered at the executive level at ED; there is no formal mechanism for coordination across programs; and functions and activities related to foreign languages and international education are scattered throughout the agency. And un- like DoD and the State Department, which place responsibility for the NSLI initiative with a senior executive staff person, EDâs efforts have been coordinated by a politically appointed adviser to the assistant secretary for postsecondary education. Finally, ED, as the federal agency with clear responsibility for education issues, should have a more visible presence in directing efforts aimed at education, particularly K-12 education. Recommendation:â The Department of Education should consolidate oversight of its international education and foreign language programs under an executive-level person who would also provide strategic direc- tion and consult and coordinate with other federal agencies. The posi- tion should be one that requires presidential appointment and Senate confirmation (12.1). The resources of ED should be coordinated with the resources of other programs. The Title VI/FH programs play a unique role among the array of federal programs by focusing on creating a broad infrastructure in higher education, whereas FLAP provides resources to K-12 education. DoDâs Defense Language Institute and the State Departmentâs Foreign Service Institute are designed to address specific governmental needs for particular language skills at specific points in time. DoDâs National Security Educa-
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY tion Program targets critical languages and includes a government service requirement. All relevant federal agencies should have a formal mechanism to consider the range of national needs for area and international education and foreign languages and the appropriate balance between maintaining capacity in a range of languages and areas of the world and responding to immediate needs. The committee concludes that this is best accomplished through a regular, publicly available report to Congress. Recommendation:â Congress should require the secretary of education, 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 (12.2). To implement this recommendation most effectively, information on both needs and program accomplishments will need to be improved across government. For example, one of the primary criticisms directed at the Title VI/FH programs was that they do not produce graduates with sufficient levels of language proficiency. ED requires recipients of FLAS Fellowships and Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad, the primary programs aimed at advanced language study by individual students, to provide, upon com- pletion of their fellowship, self-ratings of their proficiency before and after their fellowship. However, there is no available evidence of the reliability or validity of these ratings, and the way it is implemented limits its use in assessing studentâs proficiency. If self-assessment is to be maintained, a more reliable and valid approach should be developed. Recommendation:â The Department of Education should stop using its current self-assessment approach and develop an alternative approach to measuring foreign language proficiency with demonstrated reliability and validity (5.2). At the same time, demand for proficiency assessment has increased and is likely to continue to increase, both to demonstrate the language results of select Title VI/FH programs and to determine the success of a range of new foreign language initiatives in government and in elementary and sec- ondary education. Although ED has encouraged the development of other standardized assessments, these efforts have received limited funding, have been widely dispersed among the Title VI centers, and have not yet ad- dressed many of the less commonly taught languages.
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES Similarly, information and communication technology has made signifi- cant and continual progress; this progress provides unharnessed opportuni- ties to advance foreign language assessment and instruction. Technology provides particular opportunities to advance instruction of less commonly taught languagesâlanguages that are among the strengths of the Title VI/ FH programs and a subset of which are of particular current interest in the federal government. Investment in research and development that marries language instruction and assessment efforts with technology would benefit the range of federal agencies concerned with international education and foreign languages. It will also require coordinated effort by individuals with a range of specific areas of expertise. Recommendation:â The federal government should contract for a new National Foreign Language Assessment and Technology Project. The initial focus of the project should be on the research and development needed to design and implement a range of new technology-based meth- ods for (1) assessing language proficiency and (2) supporting language instruction through the development of common platforms (12.3). In general, meaningful data on program performance is lacking. Grant- ees must report extensive annual information via a web-based reporting system. However, technical issues with the system design, staffing limita- tions at ED that affect staff ability to ensure data quality and integrity, and widely held perceptions by grantees that the system is a burden without benefit, limit its use. Although the department recognizes many of these is- sues and has implemented system improvements to address several technical issues, there is no immediate plan to assess the relevance of performance measures or to make data fully available to grantees or to the public that might improve program transparency. Recommendation:â The Department of Education should ensure that its new data system, the International Resource Information System, provides greater standardization, allows comparison across years and across programs, and provides information to all grantees and to the public (11.1). In addition, meaningful evaluations of outcomes and impacts are lack- ing. More rigorous, periodic evaluations are needed to ensure public ac- countability, inform the process of regular reauthorization, and advance continued departmental efforts to stimulate internationalization. Recommendation:â The Department of Education should commission
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY independent outcome and impact evaluations of all programs every 4 to 5 years (11.2). Unlike earlier years, when the Department of Education measured performance of all 10 Title VI programs using measures based on just two programs, they now have three measures approved by the Office of Management and Budget for most of the 10 programs (one has only two measures). These measures meet federal reporting requirements but appear to have little buy-in from grantees and capture only isolated aspects of the program. The measures used for the NRC program, for example, do not capture outreach activities emphasized by the department nor advanced language offerings. In general, in the recent past, there has been little ef- fort to collaborate with universities to specify mutual goals, measures that address those goals, and promising approaches to best meet goals. Such collaboration requires the executive-level leadership mentioned earlier and could build on emerging efforts by program staff to take a broader view of the program, the collaborative networks developed by grantees of the largest programs, and the significant expertise that has developed in some universities. Universities must be ready partners willing to refine and direct their programs toward mutual goals. Recommendation:â The Department of Education should work with universities to create a system of continuous improvement for the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs. The system would help develop per- formance indicators and other improvement tools and should include networks of similar centers (National Resource Centers, Language Resource Centers, Centers for International Business Education and Re- search) and university officials with overall responsibilities in language, area, and international studies (11.3). The Title VI/FH programs were created nearly 50 years ago, when the countryâs economic, political, and military challenges were narrower than they are today. The mission of the programs has continually expanded to address national needs for internationalization across multiple systems without a concurrent increase in funding. As the programs face their next 50 years, they must be more closely aligned with other federal resources to ensure that resources operate in a complementary way and maximize achievement of multiple goals. They must implement efforts to achieve specific objectives more effectively (see the full list of recommendations in Box ES-3), must be held more accountable for performance via col- laborative mechanisms between universities and ED, and must harness the opportunities and challenges presented by a world increasingly dominated by technology.
10 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES BOX ES-3 All Recommendations* Recommendation 4.1:â The Department of Education should increase incentives in the application process for National Resource Centers and Language Resource Centers to collaborate with schools or colleges of education on their campuses in the development of curriculum, the design of instructional materials, and teacher education. Recommendation 5.1:â The Department of Education should modify its policy guide- lines to encourage overseas study by Foreign Language and Area Studies fellows. Recommendation 5.2:â The Department of Education should stop using its current self-assessment approach and develop an alternative approach to measuring foreign language proficiency with demonstrated reliability and validity. Recommendation 10.1:â The Institute for International Public Policy should redesign its activities in order to increase graduation rates and facilitate entry in careers in international service. Recommendation 10.2:â The Department of Education should encourage Title VI and Fulbright-Hays grantees to actively recruit minority members. Recommendation 11.1:â The Department of Education should ensure that its new data system, the International Resource Information System, provides greater standardiza- tion, allows comparison across years and across programs, and provides information to all grantees and to the public. *The recommendation number refers to the chapter in which the recommendation appears and the number of recommendations in that chapter.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 11 Recommendation 11.2:â The Department of Education should commission indepen- dent outcome and impact evaluations of all programs every 4 to 5 years. Recommendation 11.3:â The Department of Education should work with universities to create a system of continuous improvement for the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays pro- grams. The system would help develop performance indicators and other improvement tools and should include networks of similar centers (National Resource Centers, Lan- guage Resource Centers, Centers for International Business Education and Research) and university officials with overall responsibilities in language, area, and international studies. Recommendation 11.4:â The Department of Education should make its award selec- tion process more transparent, including making successful applications publicly avail- able via the Internet. Recommendation 12.1:â The Department of Education should consolidate 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 agencies. The position should be one that requires presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. Recommendation 12.2:â Congress should require the secretary of education, in con- sultation 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. 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 on the research and development needed to design and implement a range of new technology-based methods for (1) assessing language proficiency and (2) sup- porting language instruction through the development of common platforms.