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Foreign Language Framework for the 2004 National Assessment of Educational Progress

The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) has targeted the year 2003 for the first foreign language NAEP (FL NAEP). In May 1999, NAGB awarded a contract to the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) to conduct a national consensus building project. CAL worked in collaboration with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to develop recommendations for the Governing Board on the framework and specifications for the FL NAEP.

Focusing on the characteristics of foreign language education in the United States today, the consensus building committees propose a two-stage procedure for the FL NAEP. In the first stage, a language survey/background questionnaire will be administered to a representative national sample of 12th grade students to collect data on demographics, experiences with foreign language learning both in school and beyond, attitudes toward language study, and self reporting of language abilities. This sample will include both students who have studied a foreign language in school and those who have not. In the second stage, the Spanish NAEP will be administered to nationally representative samples of 12th grade students, drawn from students in the first sample, who have learned Spanish in a variety of ways and for different lengths of time. The Spanish NAEP report will examine the achievement of students exposed to various lengths of Spanish language study, to show the connection between length of study and achievement. This issue is critical for foreign language education today, as determined by the consensus building committees and through a national review of the draft framework.