Assessing French Proficiency with Stories – Eric Herman


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With this guide*, proficiency testing can finally become a common practice in the classroom, which can have widespread effects on how we teach, namely, enabling more communicative language teaching. New approaches require new testing methods. This is the book teachers need (and long overdue in the language teaching field) with potential to be a game-changer.


The proficiency tests are
– Meaning-based
– Comprehension-based
– Bias for the students’ best
– Quick to administer and easy to score


I have personally field-tested the stories and procedures and adopted them for my own action research. I used them as pre and post tests, the results of which helped me earn “Exemplary” ratings on my teacher evaluation. The tests also gave me diagnostic data when starting at a new school and served as final exams based on growth.

The book reviews the constructs and terminology of communicative language teaching, proficiency, and testing. The Proficiency Guidelines from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) are explained, critiqued, and common misinterpretations reviewed. Improved testing methods are discussed, namely Savignon’s 1972 study that started the communicative movement in testing and tests I designed in the same spirit.

Finally, recommended are 8, practical tasks with practical evaluation criteria. Teachers with a story-based curriculum can test how they teach and everyone can use stories as the starting point for different communicative tasks.


ISBN 978-1974034826


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