Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage ST. THOMAS MORE COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN

Ukrainian Language Assessment Project: Year 3

Submitted by Nadia Prokopchuk, PCUH Affiliate

In Year Three of the Ukrainian Language Assessment Project, the focus was on the preparation and sharing of electronic and print documents in Ukrainian and English. The documents offer support to teachers interested in using the CEFR in Ukrainian language classrooms. Large charts with lists of descriptors for the four skill areas of Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing at A1-A2-B1 level were refined, together with a Teacher’s Guide and Language Portfolios for three levels of learners: Early Years, Elementary, and High School. Ukrainian language teachers were encouraged to gather more authentic writing samples from students to further engage in the assessment process using the CEFR scale.

Presentations were made at two events in 2019.  

January 17-18, 2019: Edmonton/Vegreville Professional Learning Workshops

Two professional learning workshops were delivered by PCUH Affiliate Nadia Prokopchuk in Edmonton and Vegreville, Alberta. The workshops, titled Local Students and Fluent Newcomers: How Can Ukrainian Bilingual Educators Assess Students Equitably, were coordinated by the Ukrainian Language Education Centre (ULEC), Edmonton Catholic Schools, and Elk Island Public Schools. A total of 35 participants attended. Each workshop included a brief overview of CEFR language levels and descriptors, followed by an exploration of how the CEFR can inform resource selection and assessment practices with diverse language learners. Teachers were given a hands-on task involving assessment of student Ukrainian writing samples using CEFR scale descriptors. To conclude each workshop, teachers were invited to join the Assessment Project by contributing samples of student writing to the current CEFR-based document.

May 23-25, 2019: Winnipeg National Ukrainian Educators’ Conference

A conference session was given by N. Prokopchuk at the National Ukrainian Educators’ Conference, which was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The presentation CEFR Language Descriptors: Guideposts for Instruction and Assessment in Ukrainian Language Programs  highlighted the new collection of language descriptors for levels A1-B2 of the CEFR. The descriptors provide guideposts (also called benchmarks or reference points) for classroom instruction and assessment of language skills in Ukrainian language classrooms in Canada. Participants reviewed the draft version of descriptors and considered how they might use the reference chart in their own teaching practice. Authentic examples of student writing were also provided, illustrating how the CEFR descriptors can be applied to student assessment.

January 2020: Formatting and publication of documents

The Ukrainian and English versions of the CEFR charts were formatted for electronic and print distribution. In addition, dual language CEFR-based Language Portfolios for the primary, elementary, and high school/university level were updated and released. A Teacher’s Guide accompanies these items, offering practical suggestions for CEFR-based assessment of students who are learning Ukrainian. All documents will be available electronically on the PCUH website.

As Ukrainian language classrooms become more diverse, teachers and administrators will need to find innovative ways to support two distinct target audiences – Canadian (predominantly English-speaking) students who are learning Ukrainian and students who are native speakers of Ukrainian. All students want to see signs of progress when learning a new language, and the CEFR provides a reporting tool that can help teachers and students to identify areas of progress and areas for improvement, using descriptors that are positive and encouraging. The CEFR charts and Language Portfolios provide an objective measure of progress for all students studying Ukrainian in Canada.