Student Achievement Assessment Committee
1.Write, listen and converse proficiently about French and Francophone literary works, movements, and genres; about the civilizations of France and the Francophone world.
2.Master reading comprehension, terminology and basic research tools appropriate to literary and cultural analysis.
3.Demonstrate language proficiency through standardized examinations.
4.Engage in rational, civil discourse in a manner respectful of others and the cultural diversity of the Francophone world
1. Learning (or Service) Outcomes assessed this year:
Our goals were to assess outcomes 1, 2, 3 and 4, as well as student satisfaction with the program both on-campus and while on our AYA programs in France and Burkina Faso.
2. Assessment Methods and Procedures:
A. Outcome Assessment
Our 2 graduates in Fall 2003 (both from Education and Human Development) and our 3 graduates in Spring 2004 (1 from Arts and Sciences, 2 from Education and Human Development) were asked to submit the following materials:
• an outcome portfolio consisting of one paper from one of their earliest classes as a French major and one paper from a more recent class that represented their best work, in their opinion;
• a short analysis in English of their views on their progress in the French major, based on the comparison of the two aforementioned papers. They were asked to address in particular the improvement of their overall critical thinking skills, their knowledge of French and Francophone literatures and cultures and the improvement of their oral and/or written skills in French (Outcomes 1-2);
• a completed program evaluation form providing their feedback on the French major.
Students were also asked at that time to schedule an appointment to retake the Grammar and Reading Comprehension sections of the 901 C version University of Wisconsin College-Level Placement Test, which they had initially taken at the beginning of French 356, the first course in the major (Outcome 3).
Finally, they were asked to schedule a portfolio review meeting / exit interview with the undergraduate advisor and one other faculty member. During this interview, students were asked the following questions (all in French):
• Could you tell us in general terms about your experience in the French program at BGSU?
• Do you think that the fact that you have studied French has prepared you for the job market? Do you feel competent in your abilities in French?
• Are you planning to emphasize your knowledge of French when you do a job search? If so, what has given you confidence to do so? If not, why are you hesitant to do so?
• Do you feel that your French studies have contributed to your
intellectual development? If so, in what way?
• In your opinion, what role did the AYA program play in your learning of the French language and/or your understanding of French culture?
• In your opinion, what are the strengths and areas needing improvement in this program?
• What would be your advice to an incoming Freshman who wishes to study French and to study abroad?
This interview enabled us to explore their progress with respect to Outcomes 1 and 4.
B. Mid-Term Assessment
In addition to this outcome assessment for the French major, we have completed phases 1 and 2 of our 3-phase AYA program assessment, which serves as a mid-term assessment for the French major. Since students do not follow a strict sequencing of course work in the French major, this is our best option for tracking the linguistic improvement, cultural awareness and goal achievement of our majors before the end of their program.
Phase 1: Language Development, Part 1
We administered the University of Wisconsin Listening Comprehension test (30 minutes, multiple choice) and 96M version Grammar and Reading Comprehension Tests (60-minutes, multiple choice) to the three AYA 2003-2004 students (all of whom are French majors at BG) both at the beginning and at the end of their academic year in France.
Phase 2: Intellectual and Personal Development
As part of the AYA/France application, students submit an essay in which they address the following issues:
• Why do you wish to study abroad in Tours and/or Burkina Faso?
• What are your goals during your time abroad?
• What do you hope to gain personally and intellectually as a result of this experience?
• Why do you feel that you are a good study abroad candidate?
We have added the following question for future applications:
• How do you believe that study abroad will increase your intercultural knowledge/literacy/understanding?
We gleaned their self-expectations and goals from these essays and created a quantitative and qualitative survey (Appendix A) whereby, 1 month after return to the U.S., students evaluated their goal fulfillment and self-expectations.
Phase 3: Language Development, Part II
We hope to implement this final phase of the AYA assessment plan during the 2004-2005. It will consist of oral interviews at the beginning and end of the academic year in France, conducted most likely by our on-site director, and will follow the format of the the ACTFL oral proficiency interview.
3. Inferences from Assessments:
A - Summary of Student Learning Outcomes
1: The papers submitted demonstrated to us a remarkable improvement in students’ written expression (grammar, spelling, register), awareness of themes in French/Francophone literature and culture, organization and analytical ability. While in the early papers topics were generally restricted to students’ immediate surroundings (i.e. “my summer in Quebec”; “my father”; “my night out on the town”), later papers focused on topics directly related to the content of their course work
(i.e. inferiority of women as portrayed in a contemporary Algerian novel; the role of history and the Church in Quebec identity; an in-depth analysis of a 19th-century French short story).
2: As mentioned directly above, students’ early papers showed no particular analytical ability apart from self-analysis or description of immediate surroundings. In contrast, later papers contained terminology related to the genre or discipline, demonstrated students’ ability to apply theory to particular works, and contained (in one case) a bibliography of critical works relevant to the topic.
3: Improvement on the Wisconsin test, while universal, varied from student to student, in part because some students had very strong skills even when they entered the program.
4: In the course of the exit interview, we posed students questions (see above) that allowed them both to show us how well they could express themselves and to gauge their perception and understanding of the French-speaking world. In all cases, students expressed themselves with ease and confidence. All stated that their cultural skills knowledge had developed tremendously as a result of their experiences overseas. Some gave positive feedback regarding small class size, interaction with professors, course topics and French extra-curricular activities. Several mentioned the strength of our writing classes. They also viewed our faculty and therefore curricular diversity (i.e. offering courses on the entire French-speaking world as opposed to France alone) as a major strength of our program. One, however, lamented the fact that we do not offer a wider variety of non-literature based courses (i.e in culture, history, commerce, politics) which he felt would better complement his other major (International Relations). Three of our graduates will secure (and some may have already secured) jobs in teaching French at the elementary and high school levels. Two have been accepted into our M.A. program in French.
B - Summary of Program Evaluation
In most cases, student remarks echoed those of the oral interviews. On the positive side, students spoke very highly of the diverse faculty, the availability and organization of study abroad and immersion opportunities, the opportunities to study a variety of topics, and the out-of-class opportunities provided at the French House.They also appreciated the amount of attention they received in classes due to low student/teacher ratio. Finally, they were either aware of or had actually taken the new oral skills courses offered on campus (French 356 and/or 451) and they felt that these additions to our curriculum helped to give them more opportunities to improve their oral skills while on campus. In terms of suggestions for improvement, there was the recurrent request that we offer more classes on campus: topics courses in French history, politics, commerce, culture; a grammar review class; and more emphasis on current events. We also noted some dissatisfaction regarding the combination of French Ed with other Education majors, but these students were able to resolve their issues (sometimes with our help) and complete the programs successfully and on schedule.
In the written program evaluations, three students rated the program as “excellent” and two as “good”.
C – Summary of Mid-Term AYA Assessment
Three students (all French majors at BG) completed the entire AYA 2003-2004 program in Tours, France. All three of them participated in Phase one of the assessment; two of the three participated in Phase 2.
Phase 1: Grammar, Reading Comprehension and Oral Comprehension
a) University of Wisconsin Listening Comprehension Test 96M
This year’s results suggest that a more rigorous testing tool is needed, but we will verify this by using the current tool for one more year.
b) University of Wisconsin Grammar and Reading Comprehension
Test (version 96M)
This year’s results suggest, in two out of three cases, that a more rigorous testing tool is needed, but we will verify this by using the current tool for one more year.
Phase 2: Intellectual and Personal Development
This assessment survey is comprised of 21 statements to which students assign a numeric value between 1 and 10 to indicate their agreement or disagreement, as well as a space after each statement for comments. Of the two students who completed the survey, one provided detailed comments.
a) Quantitative Portion: The average score was 184.5/210, with “210” indicating strong agreement with all statements and “0” indicating strong disagreement with all statements.
b) Qualitative Portion: All comments were extremely positive, regarding linguistic acquisition, cultural sensitivity and personal growth. Here are a few excerpts:
“…now that I understand why the French are the way they are, it bothers me a lot to hear people speak badly of them, especially people who have no idea what they're talking about. I don’t think the French are perfect, but at least now I can understand where the differences come from….”
“ Before starting my studies abroad I would have to spend hours laboring over a short writing assignment … now at the end of my experience abroad I feel very confident to … write a several page essay in French…”
“… I’m already planning another semester abroad…”
“…after being with so many international students in Tours that are interested in French I gained new ideas about what I can do with my future.”
4) Actions Taken/Program Improvements:
In response to the suggestion that we offer “more than just literature” to our advanced majors, and in light of the fact that our numbers of faculty and students will not allow us to develop large numbers of new courses in the foreseeable future, section members have proposed and discussed (though no vote has yet taken place) the addition of interdisciplinary specializations within the French major. We will also continue to develop the AYA assessment project as a tool for mid-program assessment, both by introducing phase 3 and by evaluating the need for and quality of other testing tools for phase 1.