Nam Center Colloquium Series: Planning Assessment in a Proficiency Oriented Foreign Language Program: A Backward Design
Assessment is a critical component of curriculum design. Yet, educators often put the priority on the curriculum first, and then set the assessment standards after the main elements of curriculum are established. However, in order to reach the clear learning outcomes at the end of a course, setting standards for the assessment should lead any curriculum development. This is what “Backward Design” has been emphasizing for the last decade.
Backward Design is a process that focuses on assessment first and instructional activities last. It shifts teacher perspectives. Traditional curriculum design often begins with really interesting materials or activities we want to teach or are required to cover. We then design a curriculum, often on the go and then decide on some type of assessment at the end. Backward Design forces teachers to look at the big picture with the end goals in mind. In backward planning teachers set the vision or the essential understanding of their curriculum or unit, decide how students will provide evidence of their learning, and finally design instructional activities to help students learn what is needed to be successful.
Sahie Kang is the inaugural Director of the School of Korean, Middlebury College and Professor Emeritus at Defense Language Institute. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Florida. She has worked in the field of Language and Linguistics for over 30 years and has been at DLI for 23.5 years. Dr. Kang has received several official commendations and awards for her work at DLI including Instructor of the Year in 1993 and received a National Order of Cultural Merit from the Korean government in 2010. She has also taught Linguistics and Korean at Middlebury Institute of International Studies and Ewha Women’s University as a visiting professor.
With her research interests in socio-linguistics and language and culture education, she has given numerous presentations and published articles dealing with them. Outside her institution, she has been the Master ACTFL OPI trainer/tester since 2002, the President of American Association of Teachers of Korean for 2015-2018, and a founding Chair of Korean Special Interest Group at the American Council on Teachers of Foreign Languages in (2006-2009; 2012-2015).
Sahie Kang, Professor and Director, The School of Korean, Middlebury College