Project Title

Foreign Language Program Evaluation Project


Principal Investigator

John M. Norris, University of Hawaiʻi



The Foreign Language Program Evaluation Project was initiated in 2005, funded by the U.S. Department of Education through a Title VI International Research and Studies grant between 2005 and 2008, and has since been sustained by the National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC) at the University of Hawaii.

Our goal is to build the capacity of college foreign language educators to engage with a variety of evaluation, assessment, and accreditation demands in meaningful and useful ways. In order to provide capacity building resources that are relevant and meaningful to the foreign language community, we have been conducting national surveys and multiple case studies to understand the roles and functions that evaluation, assessment, and accreditation play in diverse language program settings (see the first chapter of our recently published book for findings). With an empirical understanding of actual purposes, constraints, demands, and contexts for evaluation and assessment, we are developing and actively disseminating a range of strategies and resources that are tailored to priority needs of real language programs.

Ultimately, we hope to generate a cadre of language program evaluation experts, who can share their expertise locally and nationally, and lead the transformation of evaluation practices to maximize benefits for various language program stakeholders--in particular language learners.

Looking ahead, over the next grant funding cycle (2010—2014), we are shifting our primary focus to student learning outcomes assessment, which we have found to be among the most pressing issues facing tertiary FL educators, due to current demands from regional accreditation practices. We intend for our work on outcomes assessment to help all parties (from language program faculty to federal policy makers) realize the ways in which assessment can contribute to the understanding and improvement of language education, including not least the expression of clear value associated with foreign language study in the U.S.

We continue to invite college foreign language educators and others to utilize our capacity-building strategies and resources, and to take part in various workshops and events we will be hosting. Keep in touch through our networking venues (Listserv, Facebook, and Blog-site) to receive updates about our project and news about evaluation projects other foreign language educators are involved in!

Major Activities
•    Conducting workshops and presentations
•    Hosting summer institutes on assessment and evaluation (to be announced)
•    Carrying out case studies
•    Running national survey studies on assessment, evaluation, and accreditation
•    Managing database of publications on outcomes assessment and evaluation
•    Generating publications: Manuals, guides, NFLRC monograph series

•    National Foreign Language Resource Center, University of Hawaiʻi (2006—current)
•    U.S. Department of Education Title VI, International Research and Studies Grant (2005—2008)

Project history

For a complete introduction to 2005-2008 project activities and details, click here to download a brochure.

© 2007 John Norris, Yukiko Watanabe, Marta Gonzalez-Lloret & Hye Ri Joo