STAMP exams assess world language proficiency levels of students

Evie Mace, News editor

World language students took the Standards-Based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) examinations for the first time this spring, allowing the World Language department to collect information about language proficiency levels, according to World Language Department Chair Chris Wood.
“It is a gold standard of assessing the students with an objective test that’s graded off-campus by people who are expert at grading these assessments,” Wood said.
The exams were taken by level-three world language students as well as all levels of Latin students. The French, Italian, Spanish, and Mandarin exams consisted of four sections, reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The Latin exam only assessed reading.
“I think the questions that were on there and the listening aspects and the writing aspects were important to know how to do, so I hope they take the results and curve how they teach based on that,” said sophomore Amelie Raynes.
The STAMP was used this year to gauge the effectiveness of the World Language programs, but is unlikely to be used again due to its high cost, according to Wood. The tests were purchased this year with funding from a grant given by the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). However, the data will provide valuable information to aid the language program in the future.
“We are doing it to gather data about where our students are and where our program is,” said Wood. “We are also doing it as a way of bringing us into line with the proficiency movement, which is a way of approaching the assessment and the teaching of world languages.”
Wood said that the exam tells students and their teachers, “where are you, what can you do with a language, and what do you need to improve. I would love it if we did it every year, but it is unlikely.”