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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

PACE Project Renewed: A Preview of the Coming Year

The Language Center is pleased to announce that The Language Flagship has agreed to fund another year of the PACE project through its Flagship Proficiency Initiative. This fourth year will build on the work of the past three years. It will focus on analyzing and responding to the student proficiency test data, but will not include new testing. The work of the fourth year will be highly collaborative. The PACE project team will work closely with two other grant recipients: Michigan State University (MSU) and the University of Utah (Utah).

Here is a short preview of the coming year.

Data analysis and research: During the first three years of the grant, the three institutions have collected over 6000 ratings in speaking, listening, and reading, in nine language programs. Data from these three institutions will be combined to more effectively investigate significant factors that affect proficiency development at the post-secondary level. The PACE project team will meet with instructors and students throughout the year and will host two events with external experts to share best practices in proficiency research and data analysis.

Collaborative Project - Advanced Speaking Proficiency: In collaboration with MSU and Utah, the project will support the design and implementation of activities and pedagogical interventions for upper-division content courses in literature, culture, or linguistics that focus attention on speaking and will provide opportunities for students to develop proficiency beyond the Intermediate High level. Teaching Assistants (TAs) in Arabic, French, German and Spanish will join with instructors from the other two institutions and an external consultant to form a collaborative cohort that will meet throughout the year. Each TA will be mentored by a faculty member in conducting a content-focused course and will provide support in delivering the course over Spring 2018.

Professional Development for Language Instructors: The project will support a year-round program of professional development, including larger events with a focus on research, and a variety of smaller events. The first major event is scheduled for Friday, September 15, 2017. It will be led by Paula Winke, Associate Professor from Michigan State University, and other internal and external presenters on using the data from three years of the PACE Project for research. The project will provide special support for the Russian program, including bringing in two consultants for all-day workshops for the instructional team.

Project Dissemination: Utah, MSU, and the U of M will continue to publish the results of their individual and collaborative projects, and present at a variety of national and international conferences. In addition, the three universities will jointly host a symposium in late May 2018 at the University of Minnesota for representatives from sister institutions (Big Ten Academic Alliance, Pac 12). The three institutions will share experiences and findings and foster collaboration in contributing to the efforts of raising the level of cultural understanding and language proficiency in undergraduate programs, thereby expanding the reach of the Language Flagship Proficiency Initiative. The event will lay the groundwork for future collaboration and implementation.

The PACE Project is funded by a grant from The Language Flagship.

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