Avant Blog

Amanda M., World Language Specialist at Avant Assessment
ESL

Welcome Amanda Minnillo, World Language Specialist

Welcome Amanda Minnillo, World Language Specialist Amanda Minnillo is our newest Avant MORE Learning team member at Avant Assessment! She has a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and is certified in English as a Second Language (ESL). As a former high school French teacher, Amanda brings a passion for

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Illustration of overlapping profiles of the heads of 5 diverse women facing to the right, in different shades and tints of purple.
AATSP

Help Avant Assessment Celebrate Achieving Women in Language for International Women’s Day

Help Avant Assessment Celebrate Achieving Women in Language for International Women’s Day #AvantAchiever Each year, on March 8th, International Women’s Day (#IWD2022) is one of the most important days of the year to: celebrate women’s achievements raise awareness about women’s equality lobby for gender parity fundraise for female-focused charities This year’s theme was #breakthebias and

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Avant logo surrounded by a circle sectioned in four colors with the words Assess, Analyze, Accelerate, Achieve.
Accelerate

Four Steps To Achieving Higher Proficiency-Level Language Learners

Four Steps That Help Language Learners Achieve Higher Proficiency Levels  With this four-step approach, you can turn your school’s, district’s, or institution’s world language program into a cycle of proficiency with measurable, year-over-year outcomes and proven program efficacy. Start Your Circle Of Proficiency Where You Are Now For many, improving upon or starting a proficiency-based language program

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A small group of diverse students sit and listen to a lecture.
Denison University

How One College’s Testing Provides Proof Of Program Efficacy

How One College’s Testing Provides Proof of Program Efficacy In the early 2000’s, Cheryl Johnson, Instructional  Technologist at Denison University in Ohio, first learned about Avant’s STAMP™ assessment. At the time, she didn’t recommend it to her department. “It was new and untested,” she said. However, in 2008, Johnson had learned more and began to

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ACTFL

How Language Proficiency Training Transformed My Teaching

How Language Proficiency Training Transformed My Teaching By: Caroline E. Schlegel, M.Ed. I was going through my desk drawer the other day and came across a lesson I had video-recorded my first year teaching. HOLY GUACAMOLE! What was I wearing and why was my hair so short?! Also – what was I actually doing? I was

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California State Seal of Biliteracy text and logo; State of California Department of Education logo; San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Ted Alejandre, County Superintendent
ELA

How One County Is Turning Seal Of Biliteracy Access And Equity Into Reality

How One County is Turning Seal of Biliteracy Access and Equity into Reality The San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools, Ted Alejandre, and his office are doing something never done before in California: providing access to all high school seniors learning or speaking more than one language the opportunity to take the Avant STAMP™ assessment to

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Portion of a globe showing eastern United States and Canada with place names written in French.
AP test

How I Grew My Language Programs With NADSFL

How I Grew My Language Programs with NADSFL By: Bonnie Peterson I don’t scare easily.  I’ve been skydiving, extensively traveled the world alone, and taught junior high and high school French for 17 years. From a lifetime of facing my fears, I thought that I could do anything.  Then, I applied for and was hired

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Flag of Texas on a pole, billowing high in the sky.
performance-based compensation

How can language programs leverage Texas’ Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA)?

How Can Language Programs Leverage Texas’ Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA)? In 2019, Texas passed legislation to create the Teacher Incentive Allotment for Texas schools as a realistic pathway for teachers to earn higher salaries and focus funding on traditionally hard-to-staff schools and districts. Since then, school districts across the state have applied for this funding

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A hard-shell spinner carry-on sits open on cream colored flooring. Denim shorts, striped floral top, sun hat, lotion, face wipes, and a Nikon film camera sit inside and a pair of silver sandals sits next to the luggage.
CIEE

Study Abroad During A Pandemic? Here Is How CIEE Did It Successfully

If you thought COVID was tough on your school or organization, imagine being in the study abroad business. Airplanes grounded. Host families can’t take strangers into their homes. Schools around the world are closed. You can’t do study abroad on Zoom. Learn how CIEE beat the pandemic. The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) typically

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Bulletin board with sticky notes with words such as: knowledge, ability, competence, skills, and goals.
AP test

Discover The Potential Of Your Language Programs With Avant STAMP Data

Watch Roger Burt and Bonnie Peterson Share How They Used Avant STAMP Data To Improve The World Language Program At Their School In this video you will learn how Avant’s Regional Account Managers Roger Burt and Bonnie Peterson used the data from the Avant STAMP Assessment at Clearfield High School and Davis School District to

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Jessica Villalobos of Albuquerque Public Schools.
Albuquerque Public Schools

Reimagining Bilingual School Programs
In Albuquerque

In school, Jessica Villalobos could not see herself. People who looked like her, shared her background, who spoke Spanish were nowhere to be seen in the textbooks, novels, and films at her school. Making Change Happen “I saw windows, but no mirrors,” she says. “These windows into the dominant culture helped me understand the wider

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Three fair-skinned students, two female and one male, sit on outdoor steps and talk while looking at a laptop.
ACTFL

Using STAMP to Create a Culture of Learning at the College of DuPage

Sandra Martins was a good Spanish student. But, when she finally visited Spain for the first time, she found much of what she had learned to be useless. Language Learning And Real World Proficiency “All that studying, and I didn’t even feel comfortable buying a newspaper,” she says. Sandra could easily have been one of

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A female student of medium complexion with long dark hair and glasses sits at a large table and takes notes in her textbook.
data

Data Is A Key To Language Proficiency

Hebrew At The Center’s Data-Centered Approach To Language Proficiency A data-driven approach to language proficiency helps Hebrew at the Center turn Hebrew students into Hebrew speakers. How do you get the most out of your language program at your school? For many schools across the country, the answer is the same: Hebrew at the Center.

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Two girls with dark complexions and dark hair sit at a table in a classroom and color using pastels.

Student Avant STAMP Language Proficiency Test Scores Skyrocket

Student Avant STAMP Language Proficiency Test Scores Skyrocket Simply letting students talk more during a class led to dramatic improvements in students’ language proficiency skills at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. Listening Is Good, Speaking Is Better When Daniella Friedman began working as the Language Coordinator for Kindergarten – 5th grade at the

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Tulane University sign and buildings.

Language Placement Testing: Tulane’s Success Story

Language Placement Testing: Tulane’s Success Story Tulane University started using online assessment for student placement a few years ago, discovering that student performance data — like duct tape — can solve all sorts of problems. Language Placement Testing: The Duct Tape For Student Success Water leaking into boxes of explosives during World War II was

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Avant Assessment team member Bonnie Flint

Welcoming Bonnie Flint To The Avant Family

Welcoming Bonnie Flint to the Avant Family David Bong  Welcoming Bonnie Flint to the Avant Family I would like to introduce myself as the newest team member at Avant Assessment.  I am thrilled to be here, and I am excited about many of the things we will be working on soon. Over the past 12

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Blurred background of a colorful classroom with a pencil holder filled with pens and markers in the foreground in clear focus.

Recognizing all Heritage Language Learners In Texas

Recognizing All Heritage Language Learners in Texas Stephany Sipes Heritage Language Learners In Texas Stephany Sipes is the World Language Coordinator in Plano, Texas, and a language educator for 13 years. As World Language Coordinator in Plano, Texas, I oversee the curriculum and instruction of more than 12,000 students. Our team of outstanding teachers believe

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Three boys with dark complexions play soccer in a street near shops in Barcelona, Spain.

4 Fun Ways to Help Students Maintain Their Language Skills This Summer

4 Fun Ways to Help Students Maintain Their Language Skills This Summer Your kids worked hard all school year learning and improving their world language skills. Don’t let the summer or holiday slide set them back! It’s finally that time of year- school is out! You’ve finished the spring testing season, final report cards are

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A diverse group of four young students write Chinese language characters on a chalkboard.

Why Wait Until High School for Seal Of Biliteracy?

Don’t Wait Until High School For Seal Of Biliteracy Chicago Public Schools isn’t waiting until high school to give world language students an opportunity to earn a Seal of Biliteracy. When the school year comes to an end and high school graduates celebrate their awards and achievements, many will receive a Seal of Biliteracy on

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A few students are seated side by side on a common area sofa as they use their laptops and tablets.

5 Expert Language Testing Tips For Teachers & Students

5 Expert Language Testing Tips for Teachers & Students By following these tips from some of Avant’s expert raters, students can feel more confident going into their language proficiency tests this spring. Nobody knows what success looks like on a language proficiency test better than Avant’s team of expert raters – those who have experienced

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A Japanese woman sits at a table with her coffee holding her phone and looking to her right while smiling.

ADVANCE: Making Proficiency Real for Preservice Teachers

ADVANCE: Making Proficiency Real for Preservice Teachers   Tell me and I forget Teach me and I remember Involve me and I learn                   -Benjamin Franklin The publication of the ACTFL Proficiency guidelines in 1986 was a watershed moment for the field. At last, we had a common

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David Bong of Avant Assessment, Linda Egnatz of The Global Seal, and others, including recipients of the Global Seal of Biliteracy, at the Avant Global Seal Awards ACTFL 2018.

As More States Adopt the Seal Of Biliteracy, Language Assessment Company Launches Program To Increase Testing Access For Schools And Students

As More States Adopt the Seal Of Biliteracy, Language Assessment Company Launches Program To Increase Testing Access For Schools And Students For Immediate Release February 15, 2018 Contact: Katie Ward (603-689-8170) EUGENE, OR (February 15, 2018) – As the number of states and school districts adopting the “Seal of Biliteracy” has increased dramatically across the

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An open laptop sits on a sofa with some charts and graphs visible on the screen.

Data Literacy: It Doesn’t Take An Einstein

Data Literacy: It Doesn’t Take an Einstein Why Do People Hate Standardized Tests These Days? Here are just a few of their reasons: Only 14% of parents think standardized testing is very important in evaluating schools, making it slightly less popular than used car salesmen and the U.S. Congress, but two points more popular than

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A black man works at his laptop opposite his white coworker at a shared work table with print materials hanging on a presentation board behind him.

Avant ADVANCE: Bringing Language Standards To Life

Avant ADVANCE: Bringing the Standards to Life Art Fry was so frustrated, he almost said a bad word in church.  Every time he opened his hymnal, his bookmarks fluttered to the floor. Then he remembered that one of his colleagues at 3M had recently concocted a strange glue that wasn’t very sticky. He applied some

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A white male gestures with his hands in the process of speaking to a group while referencing his open laptop on the table. An Asian woman with black hair sits to the left of him while looking at her laptop.

Training Raters, Transforming Classrooms

How Training Raters Transforms Classrooms “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle Teachers As Raters=Success We gets calls from schools around the country every day. But this one was different. “What have you done to Marie-Pierre?” asked the principal. “She is a totally different teacher.

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Polish flag on a pole billows high in the sky.

Interview With Marzanna Owinski Of The Polish Mission

Interview with Marzanna Owinski of The Polish Mission Marzanna Owinski spoke with Avant Cofounder Dr. Carl Falsgraf about Polish language education in the United States and the goals of The Polish Mission Polish as a Heritage Language “My kids are in Poland now, using their Polish to communicate with family, make friends, really connect with

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A book lies open on beach sand, written in what appears to be German.

Avant STAMP And The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines

Avant STAMP and the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines STAMP was originally developed by the Center for Applied Second Language Studies(CASLS) at the University of Oregon to meet the need for an online proficiency assessment that was based on the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. The “STA” in STAMP stands for the “Standards” in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. Why

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Dozens of colorful Asian lanterns lit up in the dark.

Why Language Proficiency Matters

Why Language Proficiency Assessment Matters Learning another language is far different than being able to use another language in a real-world setting proficiently. Language Proficiency is the Goal Proficiency is a much-discussed and frequently used word in the language education field. Our company and others deliver “proficiency” assessments. But which proficiency is most important to assess? Is

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A digitally altered and textured birds-eye-view image of a classroom full of students at desks taking tests.

How Does Avant Rate Speaking And Writing Responses?

Rating Written And Speaking Language Test Responses Who Rates The STAMP Tests? The human-rated responses in the Avant STAMP, PLACE, Arabic Proficiency Test(APT), and the Spanish Heritage Language tests are rated by Certified Avant Raters who are language educators/speakers who meet the following minimum requirements: LANGUAGE SKILL: Raters must maintain an advanced or higher level

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A white female teacher smiles while helping a young white male child with something on his laptop. The student is wearing headphones with a microphone.

Why Avant Now Recommends Avant STAMP 4Se Beginning With Grades 2 Students

Why Avant Recommends STAMP 4Se For Grades 2 And Above Avant STAMP 4Se was developed especially to assess the language proficiency of elementary students. Why The STAMP 4Se For Grade 2 Through 6 Language Learners Is Important In the past several years of administering Avant STAMP 4Se, we have gathered substantial data from language immersion

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A woman with a medium complexion and brown hair stands in front of her peers, all wearing caps and gowns, and smiles while holding a diploma and giving a thumbs up.

Why Heritage Language Learning Matters

Why Heritage Language Learning Matters The United States is a country of immigrants, but historically the second generation of these immigrants(heritage language learners) has lost their parents’ language – making our country poorer for it; economically, linguistically, and culturally. Why has this happened repeatedly throughout our history? One reason could be the pressures of acculturation

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Student taking a language proficiency test online with a teacher assisting

Test Reliability And Validity

Why Test Reliability and Validity are Important “Test reliability” and “validity” are two of the most misunderstood terms in language testing. Both are very important in determining whether a particular test is appropriate in a given situation. Test Reliability Defined Simply stated, reliability means that if you give the same test to the same student

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Young student taking an Avant adaptive world language proficiency test on a Apple laptop

Fixed Form VS. Adaptive Test Design In Language Proficiency Testing

Fixed-Form vs. Adaptive Test Design For Language Proficiency Testing What Are The Differences Between Fixed-Form And Adaptive Test Design? There are two fundamental test designs in language proficiency assessment: Fixed-Form Testing and Adaptive Testing. In a fixed form test, every test taker receives the same items (aka questions) that are delivered on paper or computer.

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Teacher helping student with an Avant language proficiency test at an Apple computer

How Standards Are Used In Language Proficiency Assessments

How Standards Are Used In Language Proficiency Language proficiency assessment can seem complex or even mysterious – a black box that just spits out a score. However, it isn’t that complicated once you get familiarized with a few basic concepts. We describe some of these basic concepts in the next few blog entries.  Standards-Based (or

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Smiling young man in a classroom with a tablet and headphones becoming proficient in a world language

What is Language Proficiency?

What Is Language Proficiency? What Language Proficiency Isn’t Proficiency is definitely NOT what I learned in my college Japanese courses.  What proficiency is a much-discussed word in the language field. But what proficiency are we assessing? Proficiency at conjugating verbs or reproducing dialogues memorized in the classroom? After all, someone who does these well is probably

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A young child with a medium complexion and black hair receives help on their laptop from their teacher.

Proficiency VS. Performance VS. Achievement

Proficiency vs. Performance vs. Achievement Simply stated, Proficiency is the ability to use language in a real-world situation, Performance is the ability to use language in a limited and controlled situation such as a classroom or controlled situation-based exchange, and Achievement is the ability to repeat language elements that have been taught and mastered at

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