Michigan State University

About the Language Proficiency Flagship Initiative

The Language Proficiency Flagship Initiative, funded by the National Security Education Program within the Defense Language and National Security Education Office, is housed in the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA) at Michigan State University. CeLTA’s mission is to support and promote all language teaching and learning activities at Michigan State University and in the community. Our goal in this project is to introduce assessment practices to four of MSU’s foreign language programs (French, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish) to measure teaching and learning and to determine the impact of such practices on teaching and learning. The program has been extended internally to include assessment of German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Portuguese.

During the years of funding, we will establish proficiency baseline scores (based on ACTFL rubrics). Through classroom observations and focus groups, we will investigate understanding of proficiency-based instruction by teachers and learners. Through the use of self-assessment, we aim to help students set clear expectations for themselves and to help teachers use those self-assessments to inform curriculum. We will triangulate results from:

  1. Detailed student information on language use and experience,
  2. Classroom observations,
  3. Focus groups, and
  4. Actual assessments to help us create a process by which regular assessments impact pedagogical practice and curricular development. 

Flagship Team

  • Paula Winke, Associate Professor, Flagship Co-Director
  • Susan Gass, University Distinguished Professor, Flagship Co-Director
  • Charlene Polio, Professor, Flagship Co-Investigator
  • Koen Van Gorp, Academic Specialist, Flagship Co-Investigator
  • Angelika Kraemer, Academic Specialist, Flagship Co-Investigator
  • Emily Heidrich, Academic Specialist, Flagship Project Manager
  • Shinhye Lee, Graduate Assistant, Flagship Project Assistant

An Overview of “The Language Flagship”

About NSEP’s “The Language Flagship”

The Language Flagship is a national effort to change the way Americans learn languages. Flagship offers language programs at schools across the United States for undergraduate students in critical languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu. Designed as a network of programs, The Language Flagship seeks to graduate students who will take their place among the next generation of global professionals, commanding a superior level of proficiency in one of many languages critical to U.S. competitiveness and security.

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