Native Language Revitalization

Presentation at East Coast Organization of Language Testers

Choctaw language assessment summary
This poster summarizes the development of language assessments in the Choctaw language.

Choctaw_ECOLT_Poster (click to download pdf)

Funded by a grant under the Bureau of Indian Education’s 6111 grant to support the development of an Alternate Definition of Adequate Yearly Progress in Choctaw, The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians developed and approved a set of Choctaw Language Learning Standards in 2012.  These are based on the ACTFL “Five Cs” in that they include the three types of communication (Interpersonal, Interpretive, and Presentational) in addition to Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.  The presenters were members of a team developing Choctaw Language Learning Standards, ensuring they are horizontally and vertically aligned and reflect the traditions and cultural heritage of the Tribe.

Following completion of the standards, the presenters assisted in the development of a Choctaw Language Learning Standards-based model oral Choctaw Language Assessment for Grade 2. The process of developing assessments was initiated through workshops with Choctaw Assistant Teachers to identify domains of language use by students, consultation with an Assessment Development Team to identify speaking tasks, and consultation with a graphics artist to develop visual stimuli for the assessment. Development and translation of the administrator training manual and the structure of the pilot test administrator workshop is also discussed.

Pilot testing and subsequent analysis and revision of the standards-based assessment are addressed in this poster. An oral summary will explain the importance of choosing culturally relevant assessment tasks;  aspects of the oral assessment administration; and the role of assessments in native language revitalization programs.

Background:

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, led by Chief Phyliss J. Anderson,  operates the largest unified Reservation school system in the United States. The Choctaw Tribal School System has six elementary schools, one middle school and one boarding high school on the Choctaw Indian Reservation in east central Mississippi. The Choctaw schools are scattered over a four-county area and serve more than 1,700 students.