22 Aug 2006

Date Received
Fall 2005 Semester Assessment Report Form
Directions: Please complete a form for each of the programs within your department. This form was designed
to provide a format for assessment reporting and should not be used to limit the amount of information
provided. Each box that is attached to each of the sections is designed to adjust to varying lengths. If you have
any questions, please contact Dr. Bea Babbitt at x51506 or via email at: bea.babbitt@unlv.edu.
1. Program Information:
Program Italian Studies
Department Foreign Languages
College Liberal Arts
Program Giuseppe Natale
Assessment Associate Professor of Italian
Semester Data Fall 2005
Report Giuseppe Natale
Submitted by Associate Professor of Italian
Phone/email 895-4031/gnatale@ccmail.nevada.edu
Date Submitted July21, 2006
2. According to the Assessment Plan for this program, what were the planned assessments to be conducted
during the 2005-2006 Academic Year? You may want to copy and paste from this program’s assessment plan.
Which outcomes for
this program were
How did you measure
the outcomes?
What results did you expect? If the
students performed well what would
their performance look like, i.e.
percentages, means, or comparisons to
a national standard?
__1__outcome out of a total of _1__ outcomes evaluated this semester.
Students completing
Embedded questions
Students scoring 60% (D-) or higher
an Italian Studies
testing proficiency
are proficient at level A1 for
Minor should be able
were given in quizzes,
ITAL113; at level A2 for ITAL 114;
to write grammatically midterm, and final
at level B1 for ITAL 213. Proficiency
and lexically accurate examinations in: ITAL levels are defined in accordance to the
Italian at the
guidelines set by the Common
intermediate level.
(Elementary Italian I
European Framework for Languages /
They should be able to and II, and
Quadro di Riferimento Europeo delle
formulate written
Intermediate Italian I). Lingue (see attached file)
sentences in Italian in
Scores were broken
a grammatically
down for single
accurate manner so
exercises in order to
that it is not a strain
ascertain the
for native speakers to
understand them;
should have a
sufficient range of
language to express
ideas on general
topics, to narrate
events, and to write on
literary and cultural
development of
specific skills: reading,
writing, translating, and
3. Results, conclusions, and discoveries. What are the results of the planned assessments listed above? What
conclusions or discoveries were made from these results? Describe below or attach to the form.
Results, conclusions, and discoveries
The proficiency guidelines contained in the Common European Framework (CEF)
aim at determining the language competence of learners and users against a
background of general competences, i.e. competence given by the sum of academic
and empirical knowledge. These guidelines reflect the latest functional approaches to
foreign language instruction, which call for learning to use the language in different
Through its detailed break-down of verbal operations, the CEF guidelines did provide
Italian faculty and instructors with means to not only measure stages of learning but
also to reflect on current teaching practices and expectations.
Before evaluation, the assumption was that students of Italian could attain:
Basic User proficiency level after two semesters (Level A1 for students
completing ITAL113, Level A2 students completing ITAL114)
Independent User level after four semesters (Level B1 for students completing
ITAL 213 and Level B2 for students completing 214)
Proficient User level after six semesters (for students completing ITAL 301 and
ITAL 302).
For an accurate assessment, proficiency had to be determined for each level. In Fall
2005 data collection addressed first- and second-year Italian (third-year Italian will be
addressed in Spring 2006). Prong was based on sample quizzes, a midterm, and all the
final exams for ITAL 113 (5 sections), ITAL114 (2 sections), and ITAL213 (1
section). Analysis was based on a total of 87 exercises and a percentage was
calculated for each question. Language competence was then broken down into three
main components: a) understanding (oral and written); b) writing (grammar and
translation); c) coherence (language in context)
Data analysis of tests and exams produced the following results:
Score averages
ITAL 113
ITAL 114
ITAL 213
Students scoring above 60%
ITAL 113
ITAL 114
ITAL 213
A (Understanding)
ITAL 113
ITAL 114
ITAL 213
B (Writing)
ITAL 113
ITAL 114
ITAL 213
C (Coherence)
ITAL 113
ITAL 114
ITAL 213
(data on single exercises and questions is in the attached file)
Preliminary analysis
Usually language students do increasingly better as they move on to higher level
courses. As expected, students of Italian II fared better than those of Italian I, but
unexpectedly the lowest scores came from ITAL 213.
On the positive side, data overall revealed excellent levels in listening and reading
comprehension. In general, understanding proficiency was higher than writing
proficiency. This was an expected result given the instructors’ strong emphasis on TL
instruction and communication in the classroom. Nonetheless, data confirmed the
existence of specific problems in grammar acquisition (prepositions, pronouns, and
tense conjugations). These are typical problem areas for English-speaking students of
Italian, and therefore lower percentages were not unexpected. Data also showed low
proficiency levels for translation and for all those exercises that called for a functional
use of language—with lows at 50% or more. This result can be expected in a
communicative classroom.
Preliminary conclusions
By breaking down language competence into separate components it was possible to
see how uneven the proficiency levels were. Written production was not on a par with
comprehension; knowledge of lexicon and grammar did not always produce accuracy
in writing or translating. Also, the formulation of sentences based on a given
situational context (language in context) appears to be a problematic area.
Most students scored at or above the required proficiency mark for levels A1, A2, and
B1, which would indicate that their language competence is at the required level.
However, data based on individual exercises and specific tasks seem to indicate that
their use of language, tested against a general competence framework, does not
always reach the expected level.
The data collected reinforced the opinion, already shared by Italian Faculty and
instructors, that too much material is being covered in Italian I and II, with not enough
time for students to assimilate and master what they memorize. The main source of
these problems can be traced to the recent changes in scheduling. With instruction
down from three to two days a week, covering the first-year textbook in two semesters
has become problematic. To do so, instructors have to sacrifice conversation and other
classroom practices aimed at building practical proficiency. Moreover, data also
shows a negative rippling effect on the performance of second-year students. While
the outcome for exercises on reading and listening comprehension was very pleasing,
scores for those exercises requiring extensive language competence were much lower,
especially in ITAL 213.
4. Use of Results. What program changes are indicated? How will they be implemented? If none, describe
why changes were not needed.
Assessment results and prior direct observation indicated the need to restructure the
curriculum for first and second year Italian, which entails:
Spreading the content of the first year textbook (18 chapters) from two to three
semesters (Italian I-II-III). This change, besides benefiting didactically the students,
will also bring the Italian program back in line with the other language programs in
the Department.
Adopting the revised edition of the first-year textbook, featuring a more streamlined,
function-driven grammar and vocabulary.
Adopting new textbooks for ITAL 213-4. Currently, ITAL 213 has an advanced
textbook, entirely in TL, similar to what is used in the 4th semester in other languages.
Increasing writing practice and contextualized exercises aimed at improving language
in use.
As a result of these changes, a new cycle of assessment for first- and second-year Italian
will be conducted starting Fall 2006.
5. Dissemination of results, conclusions, and discoveries. How and with whom were the results shared?
Data for this Fall 2005 assessment report was assembled by Italian instructors and
analyzed by the Italian Studies Coordinator. Results will be made available to FOL
faculty and to the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s office.