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Foreign Language Annals Publishes Case Study of Pittsburgh Public Schools Foreign Language Assessment Program

PITTSBURGH (21-Feb-2008) - Pittsburgh Public Schools’ achievement in measuring and improving its students’ levels of foreign language speaking proficiency is featured in an article published by the American Council of Foreign Languages, a leader in language pedagogy. The article, “Assessing Student Proficiency: A Case for Online Testing,” has been published in Vol. 40, Issue 3 of Foreign Language Annals, ACTFL’s professional journal.

Known as PPS Orals, the tests developed by Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) are created, administered and rated using OWL Testing Software, an application developed especially for assessing oral proficiency in foreign language and providing meaningful data that can be used for language program improvement.

“Pittsburgh Public Schools is the first in the nation to successfully develop an online assessment program of this magnitude,” said Dr. Thekla Fall, former Curriculum Supervisor, World Languages, who co-authored the article with Dr. Bonnie Adair-Hauck of the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Eileen Glisan of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“More than 1700 students are tested each year across the district via a web browser,” said Marsha Plotkin-Goleman, the current Curriculum Supervisor, World Languages for PPS. “This technology has dramatically improved the way oral proficiency assessments are conducted, and the students have clearly benefited - we have experienced a 12% increase in proficiency levels, and expect to build on this success each year.” “Pittsburgh Public Schools’ achievement in testing the proficiency levels of students and using the information collected over seven years to make profound improvements in its language program is highly commendable,” said Chris Dalessandri, President and CEO of OWL Testing Software. “We are pleased to be a part of Pittsburgh Public Schools’ success.”

About OWL Testing Software
OWL Testing Software is the leading provider of language test building software to academic, business, and government markets. Built as a web-based solution for test creation, administration, and management, OWL Testing Software is unique in its ability to create tests for all four communication skills – oral, aural, reading and writing. OWL Testing Software is available as licensed software and as a hosted solution to meet the needs of the largest and smallest schools, businesses, and government agencies concerned with enhancing the language learning process and outcomes. Please visit www.owlts.com or call 412.573.6143 for more information.