Categories: Curriculum Placement, Pedagogies, Summative Assessment
All the Language departments and Language Schools at Middlebury require students to take a placement exam before enrolling in language courses or programs in order to ensure students take courses at a level appropriate to their knowledge of the language they want to study. Amongst language departments, the Spanish department was the first to create an online version of their placement exam in a web application referred to as Measure. Prof. Nancy O’Connor used the Spanish department exam as a guide for developing an exam for students of French.
The exam contains about 90 questions, most of which are either multiple-choice or cloze type questions, and progresses from easier points of grammar — verb conjugation in the present, possessive and demonstrative adjectives — to more difficult ones — choice between past tenses, use of the conditional and the subjunctive. There is a section to test reading comprehension, consisting of questions concerning a short text. The exam is configured to allow students to access the questions only once and has a time limit of 1 hour 15 minutes. Student answers are saved to a database and scores can be exported into a spreadsheet. Results from this exam determine what level courses students are allowed to take at Middlebury.”