Item Details

Developing Oral Proficiency in Spanish across Class Modalities

Issue: Vol 35 No. 3 (2018)

Journal: CALICO Journal

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/cj.34094


There is a growing demand for online course options, including classes offered and required in foreign languages. However, offering courses in multiple formats presents the challenges of developing high quality online courses and assessing the overall program effectiveness as students may elect to take the sequenced language acquisition courses in different formats. Thus, students complete the courses through various combinations of modes (i.e., all online, all face-to-face, some online/some F2F, transferring from another university or after successfully completing a placement exam). The purpose of this study was to examine a second language program offering both seated and online Spanish language acquisition classes at a small regional campus in the Midwest. Oral proficiency was tested using the Pearson Versant Test for Spanish and students' (n=108) scores were then compared to the ACTFL established benchmarks after one and two years of language study. In this study 42% met or exceeded the first year overall oral proficiency benchmark of Intermediate-Low and 27.5% met or exceeded the second year overall benchmark of Intermediate-Mid. These results suggest online Spanish course options can be an effective mode for students to meet oral proficiency benchmarks when programs require asynchronous and synchronous oral production, and provide speaking practice opportunities. However, additional research in this area is needed to better understand why some students are not meeting the benchmark.

Author: Dianne Burke Moneypenny, Rosalie S. Aldrich

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