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PACE Project


The Proficiency Assessment for Curricular Enhancement (PACE) project was designed to maintain a culture of assessment, self-assessment, and curricular improvement in the second language-learning process. Funded by a grant from The Language Flagship, the PACE project at the University of Minnesota began on August 1, 2014 to assess language proficiency of students of Arabic, French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Data collection and funded curriculum projects were completed in 2018.

The 2018-2019 academic year builds on the work of the past four years. The focus is on analyzing and responding to student proficiency test data, along with student background and language use data. The PACE project team is working closely with two other grant recipients who have conducted parallel projects:  Michigan State University (MSU) and the University of Utah (Utah), with the goal of merging our datasets to make them available to a larger group of researchers.

PACE celebration May 2018
Dean Coleman leads the opening remarks at the final celebration of the PACE Project on May 4, 2018

Major Initiatives for 2018-2019

Data analysis and research
During the first three years of the grant, the three institutions collected over 6000 proficiency ratings in speaking, listening, and reading, in nine language programs. Data from these three institutions will be combined to more effectively investigate significant factors that affect proficiency development at the post-secondary level.

Collaborative Project:  Advanced Speaking Proficiency
During 2017-18, in collaboration with MSU and Utah, the project supported the design and implementation of activities and pedagogical interventions for upper-division content courses in literature, culture, or linguistics that focus attention on speaking and provide opportunities for students to develop proficiency beyond the Intermediate High level. Faculty and graduate students involved in the project are contributing essays to a volume in the CARLA Working Paper series, scheduled for publication in 2019.

Professional Development for Language Instructors
The PACE project continues to support a year­-round program of professional development, including larger events with a focus on research, and a variety of smaller events.

Project Dissemination
Utah, MSU, and the U of M will continue to publish the results of their individual and collaborative projects, and present at a variety of national and international conferences. See the list of presentations and publications to date.