EBOOK: Assessing Proficiency in the Classroom Guide (by Eric Herman)

EBOOK: Assessing Proficiency in the Classroom Guide (by Eric Herman)


Available as an eBook only. The missing piece in Second Language Acquisition: Assessment.



This book is the first 8 chapters of Assessing Spanish Proficiency and Assessing French Proficiency.


More than 40 years ago, Savignon listed new kinds of tests as the #1 priority and said that if we teach for proficiency, we have to test for proficiency. This guide answers that call. It explains the theory underlying proficiency and testing, critiques the ACTFL tests, and provides alternatives for assessing communicative language ability.

The tasks are:

  • Meaning-based
  • Comprehension-based
  • Bias for the students’ best
  • Quick to administer & easy to score

These testing methods can be adopted as common assessments and for pre and post testing of Novice and Intermediate second language students. Also great for conducting your own action research. The result is data on growth in language proficiency to show off to stakeholders.

“I put the development of new kinds of tests at the top of the list because of the importance of tests in shaping all that we do and think in the classroom. . . If we teach for communicative competence, we have to test for communicative competence.” (Communicative Approach Expert, Sandra J. Savignon, 1976, p. 5).

This book reviews the constructs and terminology of communicative language teaching, proficiency, and testing. The Proficiency Guidelines from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) are explained, critiqued, and common misinterpretations reviewed. Improved testing methods are discussed, namely Savignon’s 1972 study that started the communicative movement in testing and tests I designed in the same spirit.

Finally, recommended are 8 practical tasks with practical evaluation criteria. Teachers with a story-based curriculum can test how they teach and everyone can use stories as the starting point for different communicative tasks.

[Read a Preview Sample of this book]


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