Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Chinese Placement Procedures at U.S. Postsecondary Institutions
by Wei, Miaochun, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2017, 273; 10262098
Abstract (Summary)

This quant-QUAL sequential explanatory mixed methods study describes a framework for evaluating the communicative competence (Canale & Swain, 1980; Canale, 1983) of non-beginner students of Chinese for placement purposes at U.S. four-year postsecondary institutions. A pragmatic lens was used to collect and analyze data that generated a descriptive portrait of current Chinese placement procedures. Three data sources informed this study: (1) a sample of randomly-selected institutional websites on Chinese placement procedures (n1 = 226), (2) an online survey of program coordinators’ perceptions (n2 = 27), and (3) a follow-up semi-structured individual interview with Chinese program coordinators (n3 = 20). Findings revealed that five procedures are commonly used: (a) written test, (b) oral interview, (c) background questionnaire, (d) standardized tests (Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate), and (e) seat-time equivalency. An individual oral interview is the most appropriate procedure that fits many characteristics as the literature suggested (Bloom and Allison, 1949; Heilenman, 1983; Shohamy, 1998; Bernhardt, Rivera, and Kamil, 2004; O’Sullivan, 2011; Kane, 2012). These procedures encompassed all the four phases in the history of foreign or world language placement procedures at U.S. postsecondary institutions (Latoja, 2001; Spolsky, 2000). A fifth phase using individual interviews and background questionnaires is proposed in the present study. In addition, three types of accommodation strategies for placing students are identified: (a) student-oriented, (b) class-oriented, and (c) other resources. Student heterogeneity and placement policies are also identified to affect the Chinese placement procedures.

It appears that only those well-developed programs with seasoned coordinators have placement procedures mapped to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines, but not to the other ACTFL standards. Accordingly, six models are recommended for Chinese programs with different characteristics. These programs should: (a) adapt placement models to meet demands and leverage resources of institutions and student population, (b) apply localized accommodation strategies and relevant placement policies to facilitate individual student articulation from one program to another, and (c) diversify curriculum and engage faculty in professional development related to the ACTFL standards and professional learning communities. This study concludes with implications for researchers, practitioners, and students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chamot, Anna U.
Commitee: Chaves, Jonathan, Chen, Yea-Fen, Choi, Jaehwa, Dong, Hongyuan, Pyke, Curtis L.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Curriculum and Pedagogy
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 78/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational tests & measurements, Foreign language education, Language
Keywords: Accommodation strategy, Articulation, Chinese language, Language placement, Placement policy, Postsecondary education
Publication Number: 10262098
ISBN: 978-1-369-66650-2
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