The West Virginia Virtual School Spanish course for Middle School students.
Rockman Et Al
About the EDPACE Project
In 2003 the West Virginia Department of Education was awarded a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to study the Virtual School Spanish program, currently being implemented in twenty-seven sites around the state. The goal of the project, entitled EDPACE (Educational Development for Planning and Conducting Evaluations), was to help state and local educators gauge the effectiveness of technology-enhanced instruction.
During the first year of the study, Rockman et al , the project's external evaluator, visited all the Virtual School Spanish sites. In the second year, they collected more in-depth data in eight sites representative of the entire Virtual School Spanish program. In the third and last year of the study-they again visited all sites and spent two consecutive days in the eighth-grade 1B classrooms. Besides observing, they talked briefly with principals, facilitators, and students. These visits occurred in February and March. In April, the evaluation team selected about four sites for one to two additional visits. Later in the spring, the 1B students also completed a student survey, and participated (as they have in the previous two years) in both a written and oral assessment of what they have learned.
The Spanish Assessment was developed for the West Virginia EDPACE research study of Virtual Spanish. The EDPACE project was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of Virtual Spanish classes and to compare student performance between virtual and face-to-face classes. In the spring of 2004 and 2005, all Virtual Spanish 1B classrooms administered the written assessment; a sample administered an oral assessment as well. A sample of face-to-face Spanish 1B classrooms was chosen to administer both the written and oral assessments.
The written assessment items were developed based on specifications adapted from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Foreign Language, which were based on the standards developed by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language (ACTFL). This Spanish Assessment was also developed with reference to the curricula and textbooks used in the Virtual Spanish Program and face-to-face classes and in alignment with the West Virginia Foreign Language Standards.
The oral assessment, referred to as SOPA (Spanish Oral Proficiency Assessment), was jointly developed by the test designers and the Center for Applied Linguistics. A cadre of West Virginia Spanish educators was trained to administer the SOPA. The SOPA is administered by a pair of interviewers (one who conducts the interview and one who takes notes and assigns the final rating) who work with a pair of students (matched to be of approximately equal Spanish proficiency).