As you continue studying foreign languages, I am sure that thing you would like to do often is evaluate you foreign language progress. The need for evaluation feedback is important as no one wants to end up putting in lots of time into this difficult venture and then ending up with just a few stars.
Evaluation feedback involves constant analysis. Ultimately, it will influence whether you maintain current language learning strategies, or whether you should adjust or simply discard them for other techniques.
Ideally, I really would like to know how well I am doing on weekly, monthly and semester bases. I strongly believe such information can help me to avoid being stuck on language plateaus. Consequently, I am always wondering about ways to self evaluate my progress. My evaluation methods are pretty basic at this stage. Here are some methods I use.
1. Vocabulary. It is hard to estimate how many words you actually know in the target language and the rate at which you are learning new words. There are some websites that provide estimates of people’s vocab size and these are useful to play around with.
To evaluate vocabulary building, I regularly go over my flashcards and notes to see if I can recall vocab with ease. If I can’t recall certain words, I set aside them for more intensive study.
2. Comprehensive Tests. Many websites carry language tests which are useful for evaluating grammar, reading comprehension, and vocab. I usually take these tests, make screenshot of my results, and then retake the test again after a few weeks or months to assess my progress.
Some test sites I have used include:
- Spanish Proficiency Test
- Instituto Cervantes Sample Examination Questions
- English-Spanish Vocabulary Quizzes
- Study Spanish
- Spanish Quiz
3. Listening. I evaluate my listening progress by keeping a journal of YouTube Videos and podcasts that I listen to on a daily basis. After a few weeks, I re-listen to the material to see if I can understand them better.
4. Reading. I haven’t yet worked out a good system for reading evaluation. For now, I just award myself a simple mental score for how much I was able to understand an article overall without having to resort to a dictionary. Currently, I can get through entire newspaper articles by guessing words I don’t know and not having to consult a dictionary during the first read. After reading the article one or twice, I would then go back with my dictionary and make notes of new words.
I also tape myself reading newspaper articles to assess pronunciation. I would then compare my pronunciation with pronunciation from Google Translate.
I believe self evaluation is a critical part of the language learning process. However, I am not yet good at it. I would like to know what you have been doing to evaluate your language learning progress. Please feel free to share your strategies in the comments section below.