Testing & Assessment
Assessment is a critical element in language education. Well-crafted assessments provide valid, reliable, and relevant information about student progress. Assessment data can be used to inform program evaluation and instructional design to better meet the needs of language learners and the educators who serve them.
For over fifty years, CAL has been a key player in developing language tests used by many public and private agencies. CAL staff produce resources, develop tests, conduct research on language testing, and provide professional development for language teachers on assessment. Our assessment projects serve foreign and English language learners of all ages at all educational levels. This includes professional settings, such as the government and workplace.
CAL has developed and is known for a variety of assessments including
- Adult English Language Assessments – BEST Plus 2.0 and BEST Literacy
- CAL English Proficiency Tests
- Computerized Oral Proficiency Assessment (COPI)
To learn more about CAL's work and resources about this topic, browse the subtopics within this section.
CAL collaborates with the 39-state WIDA Consortium in its work to provide standards-based assessments for English language learners, most prominently on the Consortium’s assessment of English language proficiency, ACCESS for ELLs®. The test is currently taken by over 1,000,000 students annually.
The Center for Applied Linguistics is working in collaboration with Georgetown University to establish the Assessment and Evaluation Language Resource Center (AELRC) funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
STARTALK was created in 2006 to provide learning opportunities in the critical languages for students (K-16) and professional development for teachers of the critical languages, mainly through programs offered during the summer.
The COPI provides language educators with a computerized, time-efficient assessment of their native-English-speaking students' oral language proficiency in Arabic or Spanish.
CAL English Proficiency Tests are a suite of separate English language proficiency tests developed for primary and secondary students and teachers in Latin America. The tests can be appropriately modified for use in countries where English is taught as a foreign language.
BEST Literacy and BEST Plus 2.0 address the needs of adult English language learners by providing assessment options that reliably demonstrate student progress. With BEST Plus 2.0 to measure speaking and listening skills and BEST Literacy to measure reading and writing skills, programs can test all of the four skill areas.
This online course provides world language instructors with an understanding of the fundamentals of assessment.
The COPI is a comprehensive oral proficiency assessment that provides reliable, valid results to help inform instruction and gauge student progress. The COPI is available in Mandarin Chinese, Modern Standard Arabic, and Spanish.
The Multimedia Rater Training Program (MRTP) is a hands-on introduction to oral proficiency assessment that teaches rating skills via CD-ROM. This computer assisted professional development program was modeled after live rater training workshops and CAL's self-instructional Rater Training Kits.
News & Events
The recent article, Oral Language Development Among Mandarin Learners in Chinese Homestays (in Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition), focuses on a mixed-method study describing the oral Mandarin development of American students living in Chinese homestays.
New York City schools will offer 32 additional dual language programs and 16 transitional bilingual programs, a move that could help better integrate schools and boost learning for students who are learning English as a new language.
In the Los Angeles Unified School District—where roughly 1 in 5 students is an EL—20.7 percent of students who began the school year as ELs will end the year designated as English proficient.