Seal of Biliteracy Blog

By: David Bong Co-Founder & CEO of Avant Assessment Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The $1000 JNCL Spanish Challenge

It started as a simple wager. Two competitive guys challenging each other to see who would do better. Study Spanish every day for at least 30 minutes a day for three months. Who would show the most growth.

Mike Biglan, the CEO of Analytic Spot, and I, David Bong, Avant's CEO both have studied Spanish sporadically over the years, but neither of... Continue reading

By: David Bong Co-Founder & CEO of Avant Assessment Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Background Information

Avant STAMP 4Se was developed especially to assess the language proficiency of elementary students.

Although STAMP 4Se is a real world proficiency assessment, it uses only questions (items) and content based around daily school and home life for students who are attending an elementary school in the U.S. To make the assessment appropriate... Continue reading

By: David Bong Co-Founder & CEO of Avant Assessment Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The United States is a country of immigrants, but historically the second generation of these immigrants has lost their parents’ language – making our country poorer for it; economically, linguistically and culturally. Why has this happened repeatedly throughout our history? One reason could be the pressures of acculturation and the need to quickly fit into America's English-speaking society.... Continue reading

By: David Bong Co-Founder & CEO of Avant Assessment Thursday, December 15, 2016

Some state legislatures have proposed that students who learn to code should earn world language credits. Is learning to code equivalent to learning a world language? The very idea of this seems absurd to a language professional. Coding is certainly a valuable skill in today’s world. It is also understandable that legislators and school administrators need to find space in an already crowded... Continue reading

By: David Bong Co-Founder & CEO of Avant Assessment Tuesday, December 13, 2016

These are two of the most misunderstood terms in language testing. Both are very important in determining whether a particular test is appropriate in a given situation.

Simply stated, reliability means that if you give the same test to the same student s/he will get the same score. This is not easy to accomplish. For computer scored questions (items) in reading and listening, a test... Continue reading

By: David Bong Co-Founder & CEO of Avant Assessment Monday, November 28, 2016

There are two fundamental test designs in language testing: Fixed Form, and Adaptive. In a fixed form test, every test taker receives the same items (aka questions) and can be delivered on paper or computer. An adaptive test can only be delivered on a computer. The computer algorithm scores each item as the test taker answers it, then based on the score of that item or cluster of items, the... Continue reading

By: David Bong Co-Founder & CEO of Avant Assessment Thursday, November 03, 2016

Language proficiency assessment can seem complex or even mysterious – a black box that just spits out a score. However, it isn’t that complicated once you get familiarized with a few basic concepts. I will be describing some of these basic concepts in the next few blog entries. Here is the first. 

Standards-Based (or Criterion-based) vs Norm-Based (or Norm-Referenced)

Today, most... Continue reading

By: David Bong Co-Founder & CEO of Avant Assessment Thursday, November 03, 2016

It is definitely NOT what I learned in my college Japanese courses. 

Proficiency is a much-discussed word in the language field. Our company delivers Avant STAMP and other “proficiency” tests. But what proficiency are we assessing? Proficiency at conjugating verbs or reproducing dialogues memorized in the classroom? After all, someone who does these well is probably proficient... Continue reading

By: David Bong Co-Founder & CEO of Avant Assessment Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Simply stated, Proficiency is the ability to use language in a real-world situation, Performance is the ability to use language in a limited and controlled situation such as a classroom or controlled situation-based exchange, and Achievement is the ability to repeat language elements that have been taught and mastered at some level. Each has a role in language learning, but only proficiency is... Continue reading