Thursday, April 9, 2015

Assessment in Languages: Creating French Program Curricular Maps

Assessment continues to play an important role in the development of the French program at Jewell. This semester as Chair of the Department of Languages I have had opportunity to view our language programs through a new lense, through curricular mapping. Upon first view, the original curricular map did not seem promising. How could a simple chart listing courses on one side, learning outcomes on the top with blocks filled with I (introduced), P (practiced), and A (assessed) work in a discipline in which linguistic material is always practiced and assessed? It seemed the explanations of the curricular structure of the language program in our assessment plan was more detailed, and therefore, more helpful. Admittedly, it's a lot of reading, and maybe not as easily comprehensible to someone outside the discipline.

William Jewell College Department of Languages: Learning Outcomes of the French Major 2015
So after researching other kinds of curricular maps, I proposed a template that listed slightly revised learning outcomes by type: content, competencies, and the targeted proficiency level, which could further define how similar material is handled in a new way in different course levels and also list what linguistic skills each course aims to develop in the students.

William Jewell College Department of Languages: French Major Curricular Map 2015
I also added a section about what happens on the course level in order to link activities to assessment tools, something that might help a new faculty member understand how those learning outcomes happen and contribute to his/her understanding of course design. Another section that seemed important to me was the program level in order to give the big picture, showing how each course could be connected to the program's overall vision. Finally, the program should contribute to high impact practices of the college and support the educational values of the institution.

William Jewell College Department of Languages: French Lower-Division Language Curricular Map 2015
Upon reflection, it seemed the program was lacking an element: the lower-division language courses that are foundational to the major and while not part of major by requirement, a student should move seemlessly from the 200-level course into the introductory course to the major.

While it appears to be much more wordy than a simple letter in box, the chart seems to be a worthwhile effort to make. It provides a quick overview of the program and outlines briefly the important elements that make an individual program unique but also represents the essential connections that bring about successful student achievement.


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