Preserving Indigenous Hawaiian Language Through Proficiency

Preserving Indigenous Hawaiian Language Through Proficiency
Avant Assessment and Hawaii Department of Education collaborate on ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i language test.

Eugene, OR — Avant Assessment, a Eugene-based language proficiency assessment organization recently launched a new Avant STAMP WS (formerly Avant WorldSpeak) proficiency test for Hawaiian (‘Ōlelo Hawai’i). Previously, Avant launched STAMP WS proficiency tests for the Filipino, Chuukese, Marshallese, Ilocano and Samoan languages, that are widely spoken in Hawaii.   

The Hawaiian STAMP WS language proficiency test was developed in collaboration with the Hawaii Department of Education and the Hawaii State College of Hawaiian Language in an effort to meet the growing need for smaller language communities to have rigorous, professionally scored and affordable assessments. Dr. Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, Director of the Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language said this about the new test: 

“The initiation of the Avant STAMP WS [formerly WorldSpeak] assessment in Hawaiʻi’s endangered Indigenous language is an important step in efforts to revitalize the precious Indigenous languages of the United States. Hawaiʻi is unique among the 50 states in having two official languages, either of which may be a school’s official medium of education. Students in total Hawaiian language medium K-12 schools have been able to obtain the seal of biliteracy through Avant’s STAMP assessments of their non-Hawaiian second languages including English. Avant’s new STAMP WS Hawaiian assessment provides a pathway for students in other schools to obtain the state seal of biliteracy through the assessment of Hawaiian as their second language. I congratulate Avant on the establishment of its Hawaiian assessment!”

In related news, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act (S.3328) which “broadens the definition of ‘second language’ to include Native American languages and Classical languages.” The BEST Act would direct the Department of Education to award renewable two-year grants to states to establish or improve, and carry out, Seal of Biliteracy programs to recognize student proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in both English and a second language.

What is the Avant STAMP WS test and why is it important?

The Avant STAMP WS test measures speaking and writing proficiency levels based on the national proficiency guidelines.

Education programs from secondary to college levels use the Avant STAMP WS test to award competency-based credits, to analyze testing data to improve curricula, and introduce appropriate professional development to improve proficiency outcomes.

In addition, the Avant STAMP WS test helps students qualify for State and Global Seals of Biliteracy – credentials that celebrate and certify a person’s language proficiency in two or more languages. A Seal of Biliteracy can be used as a credential for academic and employment purposes. Avant STAMP language proficiency tests are available in 40 different languages. 

About Avant Assessment

Co-founded in 2001 by David and Sheila Bong and Dr. Carl Falsgraf, Avant builds and delivers the STandards-based Measurement of Proficiency or STAMP, the world’s first online and adaptive four-skill language proficiency assessment. Avant assesses real-world proficiency by pairing innovative, computer-adaptive and artificial intelligence technologies with human scoring. Avant’s assessments all align with national and state proficiency standards, including ACTFL’s proficiency guidelines. Each assessment is designed to inspire learners to grow and teachers to be more effective. For more information, visit avantassessment.com.

Avant Assessment is a Family Company owned by its Managers, Employees, and the University of Oregon Foundation.

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