Evaluating the placement assessment in a CFL curricula at the University level
“Placement,” in the context of teaching Chinese as a foreign language (TCFL), in college level often cannot be simply resolved by a single test on foreign language skills: It is a process involving a pre-entry proficiency test, post-entry orientation and continuous adjustment from both the learners and the teachers in and outside of classroom instruction. The placement process, however, has yet to be examined carefully in terms of its implications for learning needs and motivation as well as the challenges that the CFL learner, who had previous exposure in Chinese language education before coming to college, is deemed to take due to the different academic expectations and instructional goals between a pre-college CFL curriculum and a college CFL curriculum. This paper intends to investigate and answer the following research questions: 1) What are the learning needs and motivation in CFL learners who had previous exposure to the Chinese language compared to students who learn Chinese from scratch in college? 2) What should a college CFL program do to prepare learners with previous exposure to Chinese to ensure adequate readiness to enter a CFL classroom in college, specifically during the placement process? Drawing research from second language acquisition and instructional methods, this study will conduct a pilot project with a Chinese language program at an American university and a high school CFL program through a survey, the placement test results, and class observations.