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Session R5808 (AATT Roundtable: Materials, Development, & Design), 2020
One of the biggest challenges of teaching LCTLs is the often-inadequate nature of instructional materials available in the target language. As instructors of Turkish, we face this problem daily. With this in mind, we joined the University of Chicago Language Center’s Mellon LCTL Collaborative Partners project. The project consists of two parts: Test Design and Development, and Curriculum Design and Development. Our goal is to rethink and redesign our Turkish curricula and to create new instructional materials aligned with ACTFL proficiency guidelines that can be used by all programs teaching Turkish in the U.S. This paper focuses on the first product of our collaboration: an end-of-sequence summative assessment, which was piloted this summer. The goal of this exam is to test how our learners demonstrate all four language skills they acquired in the real world, using tasks that present realistic, authentic, and relevant situations.

The biggest challenge was to design tasks that presented realistic, authentic, and relevant situations that learners could potentially encounter in the real world. Tasks designed with the real world in mind made it clear for students why they needed to use the target language to accomplish the task.

We piloted the exam with students of Turkish at the University of Chicago, who completed the equivalent of two years of language instruction. The initial results highlight the importance of aligning curricula with the ACTFL proficiency guidelines and Can-Do Statements and incorporating authentic, realistic, and culturally appropriate tasks into everyday teaching to fully equip our students with the skills they need for functioning in the real world. This year we will continue our collaboration by creating new curricula to prepare our students for the end goal of functioning in the real world using Turkish as the target language. Once the initial development is complete, we will test the functionality of the materials using volunteers. Based on their feedback, we will update, improve, and finalize the material design. During this time, we will be seeking participants from various academic institutions.