One of the keys to the success of the Stanford Language Center, and most importantly the success of students pursuing language studies at Stanford, is thorough and accurate assessment, from placement testing to exit assessments.
Accurate initial placement is a key factor in successfully learning a foreign language. Both the (usually online) reading, writing, and grammar tests, as well as the on-campus speaking tests, are used to place students in courses that fit their proficiency needs. When students begin instruction they practice their oral and written diagnostic work and receive regular feedback from their instructors. At the end of the yearly sequence, language students are again assessed to ensure that learning objectives have been met. At the end of the academic year, the Language Center administers speaking and writing exit assessments for first and second year foreign language students.
The Center conducts all proficiency testing of language students, collects these data and analyzes the results of student performance. All data are maintained in the Language Center and used to inform and advise individual language departments of the quality of both incoming and exiting students of their programs. Further, the Center is able to use these data as a baseline for future improvements in language teaching. Annual exit assessment results are reported to the University Senate.
The Language Center also administers PhD Reading Exams and testing for Proficiency Notation.