Time and time again our customers tell us what they like most about OWL Testing Software is it flexibility. Unlike most pre-packaged language learning systems, OWL can be applied to a multitude of language learning scenarios across a variety of organizations. And OWL’s development team is constantly working, in collaboration with our customers and partners, to find even more ways to increase language learning around the world. Here are some of the interesting ways our customers have used OWL’s flexible platform.
Getting a Jump Start with OWL’s Content Library
A mid-western university used existing content from OWL's library of shared tests and added their own target language prompts. They used OWL for SOPI-like midterms and finals in a variety less commonly taught languages including; Polish, Arabic and Russian.
American Sign Language
In addition to traditional foreign language tests, one of OWL's newest university customers is using the video capabilities of OWL to create tests to assess student's understanding of American Sign Language.
A national certification board is using OWL to deliver their validated interpretation exam in several languages. The exam consists of both sight translation and role play. The role play component simulates a situation where the candidate would have to rapidly switch between the target language and English.
High Stakes, SOPI-like Testing
Perhaps the most popular use any on-line testing application, many of our customers use OWL to create, deliver, assess and report on "high stakes" SOPI-like testing.
One of large public school district uses this application at 2-3 year intervals. These tests begin in 5th or 8th grade and are often given a second time in 11th or 12th grade. These tests are given in more than eight languages to thousands students each year. This district has done several validation studies over several years correlating these tests with OPI's given by certified OPI raters including the current president of ACTFL.
English Speaking Assessment
One university is using OWL to administer speaking proficiency assessments to their graduate students seeking to become teaching assistants. They are assessing the English capabilities of those for whom English is a second language. Each department adds their prospective teaching assistants to OWL and views a report of how each student in their department tested. The test is rated using multiple blind ratings by trained raters. These multiple ratings, from 2-5 for each candidate, are then averaged and rounded to generate a score that matches the 5 point intervals used for the English speaking proficiency assessment.
Pre- and Post-Achievement Tests
These tests are primarily multiple choice and are given in several grades to demonstrate student progression from the beginning of the year to the end. They are given in 7 languages to an average of 3,000 students each year. OWL has a built-in reporting feature which allows these pre and post tests to be easily compared within and across languages.
One western school district uses OWL to deliver large "high stakes" yearly final exams. Their "prochievement" exams are a combination of proficiency and achievement tests. The tests consist of two parts; the first part is a standard multiple choice section and the second is a SOPI-like test.
One school is adding another type of test to OWL; but, this test is not for students. They are now using OWL to deliver teacher candidate tests. These tests are used to demonstrate teacher candidate proficiency as part of a pre-interview screening process. The teacher candidate tests have a primary section which is a SOPI-like test. The second and third sections consist of speaking and writing questions about general knowledge of the language and culture.
One western university used OWL to conduct a study which to quantify the proficiency gains of second language learners before, during and after a study abroad experience. OWL's web-based platform was used to deliver tests on campus in the United Sates, and while studying abroad in locations such as Chile, Spain, Italy, China and Egypt. These tests were then assessed by raters on campus here in the United States.
English as a Second Language
A partner of OWL uses OWL Testing Software to create and deliver ESL tests which are specifically designed for a given workplace setting. These tests an American English test are based on the Cambridge ARELS test.
“Low Stakes" Testing
Many schools also use OWL for a number of teacher created "low stakes" tests. These include in-class quizzes and regular in-class, achievement and proficiency testing. These in-class tests are given in 7 languages to almost all language students (approx. 12,000 in one district). Teachers are able to use OWL to view a "gradebook" report of these inclass tests and quizzes.
Practice Activities for Language Students
Finally, OWL can be used to create, deliver and report on Practice Activities for Language Students (PALS). The Perspective feature on the facing page details how OWL’s PALS program can help students build vocabulary in a challenging and fun way.