Diagnosing Strength and Weaknesses of Foreign/Second Language Readers

Cindy Brantmeier, Washington University, Saint Louis
Presentation Date: 
October 16, 2012

Foreign/Second language (FL) reading is an outward manifestation of an inward process that cannot be observed, and it is also an ability that some language programs take for granted. This presentation will begin with a brief review of models that treat FL reading, and it will highlight the research that determines specific cognitive, linguistic, and affective contributions to FL reading capabilities. With this foundation, the presentation will move to a discussion about the assessment of FL reading. To date, research has not revealed the perfect test to measure reading comprehension, and consequently a variety of assessment tasks (recall, sentence completion, multiple choice, etc.) are utilized in order to capture a true depiction of the reading process. An explanation of the research on the merits and shortcomings of different assessment tests frequently used to measure reading skills and comprehension will be offered with corresponding suggestions for instructional practice. The presentation will conclude with findings and practical implications of two different studies that utilize self-assessment inventories and metacognitive questionnaires to diagnose strengths and weaknesses of individual readers.