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ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview Training

On October 11 and 12, UMD’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures took part in a training workshop on improved techniques in oral proficiency interviews (OPIs). At UMD and most other universities, some form of cumulative oral proficiency exam is required for all foreign language majors prior to graduation as a way to ensure that key grammar and vocabulary points have been met. All FLL faculty is involved when it comes to assessing oral proficiency, and though such exams have been a long-standing graduation requirement for foreign language majors here at UMD, techniques in interviewing and assessing students are constantly being improved upon. These new innovations shed light on the process of language learning, and help our language faculty better serve our students—not only on the oral proficiency assessments they take, but also in the language instruction they receive.

FLL’s Assessment Liaison, Andrew Snustad, recently secured a professional development grant from CASL to bring in ACTFL trainer Martina Lindseth to teach the ACTFL Modified 2-Day Oral Proficiency Interview Workshop.  ACTFL (The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) is the leading professional language teaching association in the US; they determine the language pedagogy and acquisition standards that are employed in language classrooms around the country. Naturally, this training session was an amazing opportunity for FLL faculty to become familiar with newly-refined methods of foreign language teaching and assessment. Over the two-day workshop, FLL faculty from various language units learned and tested their new skills. There was even a chance to perform some mock-OPIs with student volunteers from the Chinese Students and Scholars Association here at UMD. While this event took place less than a month ago, several OPI-style interviews have been conducted with FLL majors since the training, some employing new techniques learned during the workshop! With many more oral proficiency exams on the fall and spring schedules, FLL faculty is sure to use all of the newly acquired information and techniques in the weeks and months to come. This is great news for our students!

A special thanks goes out to our student volunteers: Chen Xia Hu, Yi Shu Zhang, Ying Liu, Yi Xiao, Peilin Zhou, Lesteng Zhang, Jiaqi Xu, and Chen Yang.


Professor Weiqing Zhang of Chinese Area Studies talks with a student.


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