Avant Newsletter - August 2017
Monday, August 28, 2017 by David Bong
"The Avant STAMP 4S test has given our foreign language faculty the ability to measure student achievement and curriculum effectiveness in a streamlined and cost-efficient manner. Our instructors who have taken the test to evaluate its content, structure, rubric, and accuracy, generally agree that STAMP 4S is a language assessment tool of superior quality."
Anton T. Brinckwirth, Ph.D.
Director, World Studies Media Center
Virginia Commonwealth University
Mike and I have finished our three-month Spanish challenge. To find out who won, we both completed the STAMP assessment this week.
And the winner is ---- Mike Biglan!
We both grew more than one level, but Mike just eked out a victory. Mike grew an average of 1.5 levels per domain, while I grew by 1.25. We both started with an aggregate average level of Intermediate Low, and finished at Intermediate Mid.
It was interesting to see that the domains where we grew the most were directly connected to the way we approached the challenge. Mike has two children in Eugene's outstanding Buena Vista Spanish Immersion School so he spoke with them everyday in Spanish. Mike's Speaking and Writing scores each grew by two levels. I focused on reading the newspaper online and listening to Univision's "Despierta America" in the morning. Not surprisingly, my Reading and Listening scores grew by two levels.
At Avant we strive to meet and surpass the expectations and needs of our customers. Whether this is adding assessments in Less Commonly Taught Languages, improving our reporting, or providing customer support that addresses client concerns or questions quickly and thoroughly, we are always working to be better. Here are some of the things that we are doing in these areas:
Arabic STAMP and Arabic Proficiency Test training and support materials into Arabic.Upgrading the individual reports for Avant STAMP 4S and 4Se to add practical advice to students on steps they can take to improve their language skills, set new goals for themselves, and reach higher scores the next time they take STAMP. Revising, improving and expanding our training and support materials on our website - including the conversion of more of our Arabic STAMP and Arabic Proficiency Test training and support materials into Arabic.
As Avant's offerings grow we need to bring talented people with the skill and drive to help us fulfill our mission to create language proficiency. Here are the four newest additions to the Avant team:
Victor Dias De Oliveira Santos, Ph.D.
Data and Assessment Manager
We are thrilled to have Victor on the team to support the development of new assessments, upgrade our data analysis capabilities, and present at conferences. He brings a wealth of knowledge about cutting edge technologies for language learning and assessment, as well as a magnetic personality that has endeared him to us all. Victor is a native of Brazil and began his career in language by researching indigenous languages in the north of Brazil. In addition to Portuguese and English, Victor speaks Russian, German, Spanish and French to varying degrees.
Victor recently completed his Ph.D. at Iowa State. His professional and educational background in linguistics (B.A.); language technology (M.S.); language teaching; and language assessment (Ph.D.) naturally drew him towards Avant. At home, English, Portuguese, and Russian are the house languages. When he is not thinking about language learning and assessment, Victor loves traveling, playing volleyball, reading about entrepreneurship and bilingualism, watching stand-up comedy, and learning about as many new topics as he possibly can.
Digital Marketing Specialist
Lindsay brings a fresh and creative mind, along with passion and experience in branding and design. She is supporting Avant's budding digital marketing strategy. Lindsay loves traveling with her family and learning about various cultures through food and art. Lindsay is currently a Journalism student at the University of Oregon studying advertising and history.
CJ brings practical experience in market research and data analysis. He handles a variety of tasks at Avant, including data analysis of assessment results and leads research for the Sales team. He is currently a Business Administration student at the University of Oregon and plans to graduate in 2019. Outside of the office and the classroom, CJ enjoys photography and spending time outdoors with close friends.
Data Analytics and Arabic Language Intern
Aziz brings a maturity well beyond his years. Growing up in Saudi Arabia with a mother who is an English teacher, he grew up bilingual. At the University of Oregon he has found his passion in data analytics. Coming from an educational family, Aziz believes language can open your eyes to the world. Aziz’s love of language and his experience in data analytics and operations have brought him to Avant to assist in test reporting and operations consulting. He loves traveling to explore and learn about various cultures including the quirky one that we have here in Eugene.