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In-Class and VIrtual Language Learning

July 29, 2020

There WAS no difference in FINAL proficiency IN GERMAN

The German department offers one section of intensive first-year German where students cover the first-year curriculum in two quarters by taking 101-1 in the winter (4 x 50 minutes a week) and 101-2/102-3 in the Spring (8 x 50 minutes a week). Because of Covid-19, the intensive first-year German (101-2/101-3) was taught completely online (8 synchronous 50-minute on-line lessons a week) during Spring 2020. At the end of the quarter, students were given the on-line German Placement Test as part of their final assessment. The on-line German Placement Test evaluates overall language proficiency in German as a second language; it is not tied to any textbook or specific content taught in a class. It consists of three sections measuring reading comprehension, one section measuring listening comprehension, two C-tests (a gap-filling test belonging to the family of the reduced redundancy tests and measuring overall language proficiency) and a writing sample.  Comparing the results of Spring 2020 (N18) with the results of Spring 2015 (N18) and Spring 2016 (N12) (the last two times students in the intensive German first-year class took the German Placement Test as part of their final assessment) indicated, that there was no significant difference in final proficiency between students taught in class and students taught virtually  (using a two-sample t-test resulted in a p-value of 0.55 and 0.45 respectively).  All three classes under consideration were taught by Professor John Paluch.

Results of Placement Test taken as Part of the Final Assessment of German 101-3
N 6 pts 6 pts 6 pts 8 pts 25 pts 25 pts 10 pts 86 total % Mode
Spring 2015 4.80 3.40 3.10 5.80 12.20 11.10 4.50 44.90 52.30 in-class
Spring 2016 4.25 3.50 2.75 6.08 11.92 11.33 5.42 45.25 52.62 in-class
Spring 2020 4.67 3.50 3.72 5.28 10.94 9.94 5.06 43.11 50.13 virtual
(two-sample t-test resulted in a p-value of 0.55 and 0.45 respectively)