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Goals and accountability in language, culture, and literary studies through language program evaluation
Modern Language Association (MLA) (2013)
  • Peter Pfeiffer, Georgetown University
  • Alessandro Zannirato, Johns Hopkins University
  • Ted Cachey
  • John Norris, Georgetown University
  • Nicole A Mills, Harvard University
This colloquium session is being held in conjunction with the AAUSC 2014 edited volume on "Innovation and Accountability in Foreign Language Program Evaluation", co-edited by John Norris and Nicole Mills. The MLA report (2007) suggested that foreign language, culture, and literature departments need undertake content mapping to develop “unified four year curricula that situate language study in cultural, historical, geographic, and cross-cultural frames; that systematically incorporate transcultural content and translingual reflection at every level; and that organize the major around explicit, principled educational goals and expected outcomes.” Consequently, foreign language educators are increasingly aware of the disciplinary and institutional demands to hold themselves accountable by incorporating standards into their curriculum and instruction, stipulating the unique missions and goals of their departments, and stating and assessing student learning outcomes. However, the extent to which these evaluative requirements are leading to tangible improvements such as articulation among all levels of instruction, or to changes in the dubious status quo of the “two tiered” discipline, remains in question. In this colloquium, presenters report on their experiences with approaching accountability evaluation first and foremost as a useful and participatory endeavor that asks high-priority questions and utilizes feasible empirical methods for inquiring into key dimensions of their language, culture, and literature programs. They also reflect on how, through strategic implementation and dissemination of these efforts, evaluation can lead to increased status within the institution, the possibility of legitimate improvements in teaching and learning across the program, the meeting of external accountability demands, and the concomitant reduction in useless or perfunctory evaluation activities. Finally, implications are drawn for how accountability evaluation might be used to illuminate the value of foreign language, culture, and literary studies to higher education and the public.
  • language program evaluation
Publication Date
January, 2013
Citation Information
Peter Pfeiffer, Alessandro Zannirato, Ted Cachey, John Norris, et al.. "Goals and accountability in language, culture, and literary studies through language program evaluation" Modern Language Association (MLA) (2013)
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