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7 Producing Relevant Instructional Materials T he Title VI and Fulbright-Hays (Title VI/FH) programs support cre- ation of a variety of instructional materials, ranging from databases of authentic language materials to textbooks to curriculum guides focusing on world regions. Title VI specifically authorizes creation of in- structional materials for four programsâInternational Research and Stud- ies (IRS), Language Resource Centers (LRC), National Resource Centers (NRC), and Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Infor- mation Access (TICFIA). In addition, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has used priorities in the grant application process to encourage Title VI programs to support development of instructional materials or to direct instructional materials development toward specific priorities (see Appendix C). For example, in 2002, IRS applicants were invited to submit proposals to develop specialized materials for the languages of the Islamic nations of the Middle East and Central Asia. Similarly, in every NRC grant competi- tion since 1996, applicants have been required to include teacher training activitiesâactivities that often involve creation of instructional materials. Applications for the Seminars Abroad (SA) Program are evaluated based in part on their plans to develop curriculum and instructional materials related to the study tour. In order to gain understanding about the instructional materials pro- duced by Title VI/FH programs, the committee commissioned a descriptive âThe invitational priority also included materials for use in teaching the languages of South Asia. âThe committee did not have information on priorities available before this time. 156
PRODUCING RELEVANT INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS 157 analysis of available narrative information for (1) all FY 2000-2005 IRS projects and (2) all projects that were coded in the Evaluation of Exchange, Language, International and Area Studies (EELIAS) database (which in- cludes information on projects funded between FY 2000 and FY 2005) as producing instructional materials or assessment tools. After eliminating many projects that lacked abstracts or other explanatory materials or did not describe the development of instructional materials or assessment tools, the authors identified 95 projects for further analysis (Joyner and Suarez, 2006). Given the particular focus of the IRS Program on instructional ma- terials (in addition to research), IRS projects were analyzed separately from those funded by other Title VI/FH programs. As a result of the study design, the majority of the projects identified (60 of 95) were IRS-funded, providing a useful, though incomplete, portrait of the IRS projects funded between FY 2002 and FY 2005 that produced in- structional materials during this period. (Only 2 of the 60 projects identified were funded in FY 2000 or FY 2001). The committee notes that the other Title VI/FH programs probably funded numerous other projects involving instructional materials development beyond those identified for the analysis (35 of 95). The coding used to identify projects as producing instructional materials was done by a contractor rather than the grantees and was based on an abstract only. In general, the analysis should be viewed as providing descriptive information only; it does not shed light on the quality, dissemi- nation, or use of the materials described. This chapter describes some of the types of instructional materials pro- duced by Title VI/FH grantees. The description is based primarily on the commissioned analysis, supplemented by information obtained in site visits and from websites of select instructional materials development projects. The chapter also discusses the challenge of determining whether instruc- tional materials are ârelevantâ and âmeet accepted scholarly standards,â and provides examples of recent efforts to ensure the relevance and quality of language instructional materials. Although the review included projects identified as producing both instructional materials and assessments, it identified far fewer to develop assessments. Of those identified, the majority were produced by LRCs and were related to language acquisition rather than to other international ar- eas. Language assessment is discussed in more detail in Chapter 6. â The committee chose to review all projects from the IRS Program because ED program of- fice leaders describe the program as funding two types of projects: (1) materials development and (2) research surveys and studies. â The committee was told that, in the redesigned system, grantees will be required to enter the subject area codes that were used to identify projects.
158 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS PRODUCED The descriptive analysis identified 95 projects supported by 8 of the 14 Title VI/FH programs. The analysis of information from these 95 projects yielded descriptions of 297 kinds of instructional materials, most of which incorporated technology. Intended Uses The instructional materials were classified based on their intended use. While recognizing that many of the materials could serve a variety of pur- poses, the authors identified three primary intended uses: BOX 7-1 Instructional Material Examples Materials for Instruction: â¢ n IRS grant was awarded to UCLA to develop interactive web-based materials for A teaching Zulu language and culture. â¢ n IRS grant was awarded to the University of Arizona to create language teaching A materials in Ukrainian, Turkish, Cantonese, and Kazak, available on DVD and on the Internet (University of Arizona, 2007). â¢ he LRC at Michigan State University (2007) supported development of the lan- T guage component for African digital libraries. The project created a pronunciation guide, a grammar course, content-based units, and an instruction guide. â¢ eorgetown University used an LRC grant to develop professional development G materials for the instruction of teachers, including a monthly e-newsletter, The Language Resource, and development of the National Capital Language Resource Centerâs learning standards for Arabic K-16 in collaboration with the American As- sociation of Teachers of Arabic, the Middle East LRC, and the National Learning Standards Collaborative. â¢ n NRC grant to Ohio State Universityâs Center for Latin American Studies led to A development of two quite different types of instructional materials. First, the center created two traveling exhibits: âMexico Past and Present Through the Art of Diego Riveraâ and âBrazil and the Amazon.â The center also engaged teachers and the Spanish-speaking heritage community in development of a set of web-based in- structional materials, âLatinamerica in Cyberspaceâ (Ohio State University, 2007). Materials for Instructors: â¢ ornell University received an IRS grant to develop area studies materials focusing C on several different countries. One set of web-based teaching materials, âWater and
PRODUCING RELEVANT INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS 159 â¢ Materials for instruction: This group of materials included in- structional modules, lessons, and curriculum units; courses/full programs; professional development/teacher training materials; and supplemental or support materials. â¢ Materials for instructors: These materials included teacher re- sources and curriculum guides/frameworks. â¢ Materials for students: These materials included texts, study guides/ workbooks, grammars, dictionaries, and resource databases. Most of the types of materials developed were designed for use in in- struction or by students. Fewer, although a notable number, were materials for instructors. Box 7-1 presents illustrations of each type. Development in Nepal,â includes extensive background material on Nepal, develop- ment, and water, as well as a basic Nepali glossary, student handouts, homework assignments, quizzes and keys, and links to other sources of information. Instruc- tors can use the materials to engage elementary and middle school students in addressing problems of water availability and safety from the perspective of different ethnic and caste groups in Nepal (Cornell University, 2007). Materials for Students: â¢ n IRS grant to the University of Wisconsin supported development of student lan- A guage materials in Indonesian. This project created a set of interactive, multimedia, listening comprehension lessons designed to teach listening strategies, develop cultural and linguistic knowledge, and move students from the intermediate-low to the advanced level on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) listening proficiency scale (University of Wisconsin, 2007). â¢ he LRC at Pennsylvania State University created a Korean grammar workbook T and a book-length Russian textbook and workbook, Narrative and Conceptual Pro- ficiency in Russian, for students (Pennsylvania State University, 2007). â¢ he University of Wisconsin used a TICFIA grant to create web-based, searchable T digital bilingual dictionaries in several Southeast Asian languages, including Bur- mese, Lao, Thai, Khmer, and Vietnamese and the ethnic minority languages Mon, Karen, and Shan. The dictionaries were supplemented by historical dictionaries in cases of significant orthographic change and extended by lexicons of newly minted words. SOURCES: Joyner and Suarez (2006); Cornell University (2007); Michigan State University (2007); Ohio State University (2007); Pennsylvania State University (2007); University of Arizona (2007); University of Wisconsin (2007).
160 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES Formats The instructional materials were classified into one of five types of for- mats: (1) computer software, (2) web-based programs, (3) computer-based programs and resources (e.g., CD-ROMs), (4) print format (e.g., text- books), and (5) multimedia resources that sometimes contained the other four formats. Most of the projects that produced instructional materials incorporated technology. Furthermore, among the projects in which the for- mat was discernible from the information reviewed, there were almost twice as many types of materials in web-based format as in any other format. Language Focus The instructional materials produced by the IRS Program and the other programs most frequently focus on language instruction. Specifically, of the 155 kinds of materials produced by IRS projects 90 of them (58 percent) were materials or resources to support language teaching and learning. Of the 137 kinds of materials produced by other programs 69 of them (50 percent) were materials or resources to support language teaching and learning. The next largest groups of materials produced by the IRS and the other projects were assessments and area studies materials, followed by cultural materials (Joyner and Suarez, 2006). Language instructional materials addressed a variety of languages, including many less commonly taught languages. Perhaps in response to EDâs 2002 priority that included development of materials in languages of the Islamic nations of the Middle East, Arabic was the language most frequently supported by IRS-funded projects, with 13 such materials. The next most common languages were Russian (7), Spanish (7), Chinese (5) and Japanese (4). The IRS-funded instructional materials focused on 70 different languages (see Box 7-2), while the materials funded by other Title VI/FH programs focused on 69 different languages. In public comments to the committee, one expert stated that IRS grants dating back to the 1960s had yielded 740 sets of instructional materials. Among these, about 80 were in Chinese, 65 in various forms of Arabic, and 40 in Japanese, with much smaller numbers of materials in the least commonly taught languages, such as Pashto (about 16), Vietnamese (about 7), and Yoruba (about 4) (Wiley, 2006). â Projects supported by other Title VI/FH programs most frequently produced Japanese instructional materials and assessments (13), followed by Spanish (13), Chinese (8), Russian (6), Mandarin (5), and Zulu (5). However, as noted above, the small sample considered in the commissioned analysis may not accurately reflect the universe of these projects.
PRODUCING RELEVANT INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS 161 BOX 7-2 Language Focus (as listed by project) of IRS-Funded Projects, FY 2000-2005 African Indonesian Sesotho Albanian Kazak Shan Amharic Khmer Shona Arabic Kikuyu Slavic and Eastern Aymara Kinyarwanda European Azerbaijani Korean Somali Bosnian/Croatian/ Kriol Southeast Asian Serbian Lao Spanish Burmese Latin Swahili Cantonese Less Commonly Tagalog Chichewa Taught Languages Tajik Chinese (unspecified) Tamil Czech Lingala Thai Dardarsha Macedonian Tibetan Egyptian Mandarin Turkish English Middle Eastern Ukrainian Filipino Mon Urdu French Mopan Maya Uyghur Georgian Pashto Uzbek German Persian Vietnamese Gikuku Polish Wolof Greek Punjabi Yoruba Hebrew Romanian Zulu Hindi Russian SOURCE: Joyner and Suarez (2006). RELEVANCE AND SCHOLARLY STANDARDS A more challenging aspect of this component of the committeeâs charge is assessing the degree to which materials are relevant and meet accepted scholarly standards. Relevance The relevance of instructional materials may be measured by the extent to which the materials are obtained by intended users, the users actually apply and make use of the materials, and the materials prove to be useful for teaching and student learning. Some elements of the application process for Title VI/FH grants encour-
162 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES age grantees to develop materials that are relevant. First, as discussed in Chapter 3, ED convenes panels of experts to review grant applications. In recent years, ED has established criteria for ranking and review of applica- tions that may encourage creation of relevant materials. For example, in 2003 and again in 2005, the IRS application review criteria included points for âneed for the project,â âpotential for use in other programs,â âac- count of related materials,â and âprovisions for pre-testing and revision.â Similarly, the criteria for review of NRC applications increased the total number of points possible for âimpact and evaluationâ from 20 points in 2003 to 25 points in 2005. In both 2003 and 2005, the criteria for review of LRC applications allowed up to 20 points for the âevaluation planâ (see Appendix C). The ED provides an additional incentive to grantees to demonstrate that their activitiesâincluding materials developmentâare relevant by re- quiring annual progress reports that address âimpactâ as well as other aspects of the project. These annual progress reports are the primary infor- mation that ED program officers use each year when deciding whether or not to continue the grant (see Chapter 3). No systematic, comprehensive information is available about the extent to which IRS, NRC, or LRC grantees may be responding to EDâs directives by conducting needs assessments, reviewing existing materials, carrying out evaluations, or conducting impact assessments of the instructional materials they create. However, during site visits, the committee learned about many efforts to evaluate materials or assess the extent to which they are used. For example, the faculty and staff at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) provided estimates of the number of hits and downloads from the Outreach World website of teaching materials (see Chapter 5). In addition, many grantees reported conducting pretests, posttests, and surveys to ob- tain user feedback on the relevance and usefulness of instructional materi- als. For example, staff at the Indiana University Center for the Languages of the Central Asian Region (an LRC) said that they had pilot-tested a new introductory Uzbek textbook, in both a book and a web-based version, over two summers. The textbook authors taught Uzbek in the universityâs Summer Workshop of Slavic East European and Central Asian Languages, and students used the new text. Near the end of the workshop, the authors surveyed students and also conducted informal interviews with them to obtain feedback and identify needed revisions. During the committeeâs site visit to Indiana University, staff at the uni- versityâs Center for Evaluation and Education Policy said that, in response to EDâs 2005 criteria for review of NRC applications placing greater weight on evaluation, several university NRCs had asked for help in writing the evaluation sections of their applications. For example, the center helped the Russian and East European Institute prepare an application that included
PRODUCING RELEVANT INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS 163 plans to evaluate the relevance of teacher training materials through several measures, including workshop attendance, surveys conducted at the end of each workshop, and surveys conducted 6 to 12 months later, to determine the extent to which workshop content had been incorporated into class- room practices. In public comments to the committee, experts in foreign languages, area studies, and international education stressed the value of the instruc- tional materials developed, particularly those developed by the IRS Program (Wiley, 2006; Edwards, 2006). They commented on the value of a field- driven system that provides grants and creates materials in response to ideas generated from those in the field (Keatley, 2006; Christian, 2006). Scholarly Standards In the United States today, there is no single, uniform process for en- suring the quality of instructional materials. In major research universities, individuals, departments, and area centers typically gain prestige based on the quality of their scholarly publications. Research published in peer-re- viewed journals is a requisite for tenure and promotion, and the peer review process is intended to provide assurance that publications meet scholarly standards. In general, instructional materials are given less weight than research, so young scholars tend to devote more time to research than cre- ating new instructional materials. Furthermore, standards for assessing the quality of instructional materials are not well defined. Nevertheless, there are widely used procedures that materials develop- ers can follow to help ensure that the materials they develop will be of high quality. For example, the author of a textbook usually submits the draft to a commercial publisher, who engages outside experts to review its quality and content. On the basis of these reviews, the author may be asked to make extensive revisions prior to publication. Although a commercial publisher may not be involved in the development of textbooks or other instruc- tional materials for the less commonly taught languages, the author may nevertheless engage outside experts in review and pilot-test of the materials to identify needed improvements. Approaches to developing high-quality instructional materials are available from professional journals and from guidelines for good practice developed by professional associations. APPROACHES TO ENSURING RELEVANCE AND QUALITY A rigorous process for developing relevant, high-quality instructional materials was reported in a study of federally funded middle school and high school science and mathematics materials (Tushnet et al., 2000). The generous funding provided by the National Science Foundation allowed
164 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES curriculum developers to assemble large cross-disciplinary teams of schol- ars, who carried out the following steps: 1. Identify the important content to be covered within the larger area (e.g., in the geometry segment). 2. Brainstorm about types of stories or powerful concepts that could be featured. 3. Meet with writers and review the content with them. Generate a first draft. 4. Send the draft out multiple times to the advisory board for feed- back regarding content, dialogue, cultural sensitivity, and gender equity. 5. Conduct focus groups of teachers, scholars, and community groups to review the treatments. 6. Pilot an early version of the module in local classrooms. 7. Revise module, if necessary, based on the pilots. 8. Field test the final version of the module in national sites, revising as necessary. Often, however, curriculum developers are constrained by much more limited funding, using less sophisticated approaches to create materials that may be highly focused (e.g., vocabulary lists, collections of pictures related to an area culture) or intended only for local classroom use. An individual teacher or faculty member may engage other experts in developing course- ware, workbooks, or syllabi or may rely entirely on his or her personal expertise. He or she may or may not conduct pilot tests or field tests to determine how useful the materials are in supporting the learning process. Current Efforts to Ensure the Quality of Language Instructional Materials Associations of language educators and other groups are now engaged in two types of efforts to enhance the quality of instructional materials. One type aims to strengthen the process of developing materials, and the other type emphasizes review and evaluation of existing materials with the goal of identifying or selecting only those that meet certain scholarly standards. Because many of the instructional materials developed with Title VI/FH funding are language materials, the following discussion focuses on foreign language materials. Strengthening Development of Foreign Language Materials Colleges and universities are currently working to strengthen the devel- opment of instructional materials as part of a larger movement to reform and improve undergraduate education. The Boyer Commission on Educat-
PRODUCING RELEVANT INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS 165 ing Undergraduates in the Research University (1998) called for a research- based approach to teaching. It encouraged faculty members to collaborate in ongoing research and improvement of their own teaching practices, drawing on the most recent research on teaching and learning. Today, many faculty and administrators across the country are revising course designs and instructional materials in science and other disciplines in order to better support student learning (e.g., Allen, 2000). Reflecting this larger reform movement, the Association of Depart- ments of Foreign Languages (ADFL), a division of the Modern Language Association, has launched several efforts to strengthen undergraduate for- eign language teaching, including instructional materials. The ADFLâs 2001 statement of good practice emphasizes ongoing improvement of teaching practices, calling on language departments to value scholarship on teaching methods and assessment procedures equally with traditional forms of schol- arship. Its definition of good teaching calls for a more scholarly approach to developing curriculum and instructional materials, including collabora- tion to engage more scholars in the process (Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, 2001, p. 2, italics added): Good teaching begins with imaginative, conscientious course design and ongoing efforts to maintain and develop subject-area and methodological expertise. . . . A good teacher recognizes that students learn by hearing the foreign language spoken well and by reading authentic texts, as well as by communicating with others in the foreign language, both orally and in writing. Practice in using the productive and receptive skills should be an integral part of every course taught in a foreign language, including those that focus on literature or culture.Â .Â .Â . Good teaching is enhanced when faculty members work cooperatively to ensure that instruction in every classroom is related to that in other classes in the department, in the humanities, or across the university. The ADFL also publishes a quarterly journal, ADFL Bulletin, with articles on designing language courses and materials. One recent issue in- cluded the articles âGoals, Strategies, and Curricula in Advanced Arabic Learningâ (McLarney, 2005) and âIntegrating Media into Arabic Instruc- tion: Advantages and Challengesâ (Rammuny, 2005). In addition to ADFL, other academic and professional associations publish research and newslet- ters and offer advice on design of curriculum and selection of instructional materials. For example, the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese publishes Hispania (American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, 2006) and the National Council of Less Com- monly Taught Languages (2006) publishes the Journal of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages. With ED funding, the ACTFL created national standards for foreign language learning organized around five goals of communication, cultures,
166 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES connections, comparisons, and communities. Although the introduction clearly states that âthe standards are not a curriculum guideâ (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 2006a, p. 2), ACTFL has used these standards as a focus in workshops for language teachers on the design of curriculum, instructional materials, and assessments (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 2006b). In addition, some states have used the standards as a template to create criteria for evalua- tion of foreign language textbooks and curriculum materials (see discussion below). The National Science Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation have also funded a range of activities, some utilizing advances in technology, aimed at advancing foreign language instruction as well as instruction in other disciplines. Contribution of Title VI Programs to Strengthening Materials Development The Department of Educationâs application review process engages scholars in review of the activities proposed for funding under the various Title VI/FH programs. As noted above, the rating criteria for IRS applicants proposing to develop instructional materials are designed to enhance the quality of those materials by encouraging grantees to take a careful ap- proach to materials development, including a survey of existing materials and pilot-testing of preliminary materials. The committee identified several examples of Title VI/FH-funded ef- forts to strengthen materials development. For example, the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), an LRC located at the University of Minnesota, conducted a program of competitive mini- grants to teachers of the less commonly taught languages to develop share- able teaching materials (University of Minnesota, 2006b). A committee of experts in languages, linguistics, and curriculum development reviewed the proposals in terms of their likelihood of successful completion, appropriate use of technology, potential audience, and goal of enhancing language pro- ficiency. Since 2000, CARLA has also offered an annual summer institute on developing classroom materials for less commonly taught languages. In summer 2006, the five-day institute covered such topics as (1) providing the latest research on second language acquisition and its implications for de- velopment of instructional materials in the less commonly taught languages, (2) creating new materials and revising existing materials, (3) adapting materials from other languages, (4) using technology appropriately, and (5) incorporating authentic resources and visual elements (University of Minnesota, 2006a). However, the institute did not address field-testing or
PRODUCING RELEVANT INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS 167 evaluation of materials. The leaders of these summer institutes on develop- ment of teaching materials were writing a book on materials development in late 2006. The National K-12 Foreign Language LRC at Iowa State University also offers many institutes designed to help teachers improve teaching approaches, including design of curriculum and teaching materials (Iowa State University, 2003). Evaluating Foreign Language Materials State education agencies and professional associations have evaluated language textbooks and other instructional materials. Such studies are often designed to identify the best materials for classroom use. At the same time, they may also encourage a more rigorous process of materials development, as developers seek to create materials that will be accepted and purchased. State education agencies often engage expert panels in review of lan- guage materials in order to identify those most aligned with state language standards. For example, in 2003, the California Department of Education convened a panel of experts to review language instructional materials us- ing a set of criteria that reflect the five elements of the ACTFL Standards for Foreign Language Teaching (California Department of Education, 2006). The Oklahoma State Department of Education has disseminated a language textbook evaluation guide based on the ACTFL standards and developed by an expert at Indiana University (Oklahoma State Department of Educa- tion, 2006). Title VI-funded projects have initiated similar efforts to evaluate and thereby improve language instruction materials. In 1998, the National K- 12 Foreign Language LRC at Iowa State University, in collaboration with ACTFL, launched a major effort to strengthen language teaching, New Vi- sions in Action (Iowa State University, 2000-2004). The New Visions proj- ect created âaction groupsâ on materials selection and assessment. Among other goals, these two action groups sought to âdevelop and disseminate an evaluative criteria instrument for print and technology-based materials selectionâ and to develop a database with reviews of effective instructional materials (Iowa State University, 2000-2004). The National Foreign Language LRC at the University of Hawaii will offer a summer institute in 2007 on evaluation of foreign language pro- grams for teachers and college faculty. Among other topics, the summer institute will address curriculum development and improvement, course â Personal correspondence, Margaret Hilton with Louis Janus, LCTL project coordinator, CARLA, November, 2006.
168 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES evaluation, and student learning outcomes assessment (University of Ha- waii, 2006). The Language Materials Project (LMP) at UCLA has created an online bibliographic database of instructional materials for less commonly taught languages (University of California at Los Angeles, 2006d). The Depart- ment of Defense originally funded the project at the time of the Persian Gulf war, with the goal of rationalizing the various language training programs in the federal government. During the 1990s, ED provided additional funding through the TICFIA grant, and the project is currently supported with IRS funding. Housed at the UCLA Center for World Languages, the project engages graduate students to review materials and create an abstract for each item, describing its content and features, to aid users in making selections. The LMP website (http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/index.aspx?menu=001) allows users to enter language portals in order to access two types of ma- terialsâpedagogical materials (classroom materials intended for foreign language teaching) and authentic materials (originally intended for use by native speakers, not language learners). Each language portal also provides information about the history, culture, and origins of the language, a map showing where the language is spoken, basic facts about the grammar, writ- ing systems, and a history of the language, with references. The LMP database is designed to be inclusive, while also establishing minimal standards of quality. An advisory board of nationally known lan- guage experts oversees the development and maintenance of the database. For example, the database defines pedagogical materials very widely, in- cluding textbooks, computer-aided instruction, videos, audiotapes, games, puzzles, and workbooks. At the same time, however, teaching materials must meet three criteria to be included: (1) must be pedagogically useful or relevant to the teacher, the student, or the curriculum development; (2) must provide at least some information, such as a preface, in English; and (3) must include publication information. Similarly, the project de- fines authentic materials broadly, encompassing books, periodicals, maps, games, puzzles, currency, and advertisements. Authentic materials must meet five criteria for inclusion: (1) must be pedagogically useful, (2) must be of foreign origin, (3) must come from a sustainable source, (4) must be readily available in the United States, and (5) must be free of copyright restrictions. In addition, the LMP database links directly to a database of language teaching materials developed and maintained by the University of Min- nesotaâs CARLA. The CARLA database of teaching materials for the less commonly taught languages includes two types of materials: (1) materials created by CARLA graduate assistants, including a Virtual Picture Album, Virtual Audio-Video Archive, and exercises on Irish, Portuguese, Basque,
PRODUCING RELEVANT INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS 169 and other less commonly taught languages and (2) materials created by instructors through the mini-grants process described above. Materials are selected based on both need for materials related to a particular lan- guage and the coordinatorâs expert judgment about their quality. Finally, the LMP database hosts an historic database originally developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics, a partner in two Title VI-funded LRCs. Although no longer maintained, the database includes information on textbooks, grammars, readers, and bilingual dictionaries for approximately 900 languages. CONCLUSIONS The Title VI/FH programs have developed a variety of language and cultural materials, many of which are designed to address gaps in the availability of curricula and materials to support teaching and learning in the less commonly taught languages. Many of these materials can be eas- ily accessed by instructors via websites developed with support from Title VI/FH programs. C onclusion:â Title VI programs develop a variety of instructional and assessment materials, with many aimed at developing proficiency in the less commonly taught languages. Systematic, national information on the quality of these materials and the extent to which they are disseminated and used is not currently available. However, surveys, web access data, and site visit interviews provide evi- dence that at least some of these materials are being used by their intended audiences. Although there are no uniform scholarly standards for instruc- tional materials, site visit interviews indicate that some federally funded teachers, faculty members, and curriculum developers follow approaches to materials development that incorporate efforts to ensure the quality and relevance of materials. C onclusion:â Although there are no uniform scholarly standards for instructional materials, there are widely accepted âbest practiceâ ap- proaches to materials development that are disseminated by profes- sional associations and journals. Furthermore, the selection criteria used to rate IRS applications encourage grantees to follow aspects of the best practice approaches to development â Personal correspondence, Margaret Hilton with Louis Janus, LCTL project coordinator, CARLA, November, 2006.
170 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES of instructional materials. Specifically, IRS grant applications are awarded points for review of existing materials and for pilot-testing and revision, two aspects of the widely accepted approaches to developing quality cur- ricula and materials. If use of these criteria has actually resulted in pilot- testing of materials and improved the quality of the resulting materials, ED may want to consider ways of incorporating these criteria in the review process for applicants who propose to produce instructional materials through other programs.