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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessing First Nations language proficiency Miller, John Wilson

Abstract

The purpose of this research project was to develop, trial, and improve a method for assessing levels of First Nations language proficiency. The work is based on a need identified by British Columbia First Nations language teachers for a means to determine student progress and achievement in courses involving the learning of First Nations language. Borrowing liberally from existing language rating scales, assessment literature, First Nations language literature, personal experience in First Nations language curriculum development, and discussions with First Nations language teachers, a set of First Nations Language Benchmarks and check-lists were developed for trial. The research undertaken in this study, which involved extensive collaboration with 10 First Nations language teachers, was conducted in four First Nations languages (Interior Salish) and included participation by both public and Band-operated schools. Following two, three-month trial periods and the resulting feedback from the participating language teachers, a culturally appropriate, easily administered, and teacher friendly method of assessing First Nations language has been established. One of the most significant outcomes of this research project is a handbook entitled A Language Teacher's Guide to Assessing First Nations Language Proficiency.

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