We should measure what matters because what we measure matters.
—Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University.
CASLS founder and longtime UO language advocate Carl Falsgraf is back on campus this year.
Fall term he taught an EALL course on bilingualism and this Winter he's teaching a methods course on Chinese, Japanese, and Korean pedagogy. It's great to have such a longtime friend (samurai) back doing what he loves—sharing his passion for language learning and teaching, and questioning many of the prevailing assumptions about both. I envy his students!
Carl continues to be deeply interested in assessment, one of the cornerstones that CASLS was founded on. Their work in the 2000's helped redefine how we measure what students learn in our classes, and what that learning means in terms of what students can actually accomplish communicatively. And, now his writing on the matter has the benefit of all the data compiled by Avant Assessment to help him ponder those questions. I encourage you to follow his blog at Avant.
A recent post is illustrative. Using Avant's annual proficency report as his informant, Carl takes on two popular myths about language learning (and what counts at universities):
Myth 1: Two years of high school language study equals one year of college
Myth 2: For English speakers, Asian languages are harder than European languages.
I won't spoil Carl's elucidation but as you may infer, the picture is a lot more nuanced than our standards (and indeed our intuition) would indicate. Welcome back, Carl.