Professor Xun Yan and Linguistics graduate students working on language proficiency tests in multi-year ISBE project

Left to right: Kiel Christianson, director of SLATE; Xun Yan, professor of linguistics; Joyce Tolliver, director of the Program in Translation and Interpreting Studies; Reynaldo Pagura, professor of translation and interpreting studies

Faculty from Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (SLATE), the Department of Linguistics, and the Program in Translation and Interpreting Studies are collaborating with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to develop an online training program for interpreters for Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings in Illinois schools. 

The five-year, $5 million project follows a recently enacted law that requires qualified interpreters to be present when teachers and parents meet to discuss IEPs for students with special educational needs.

Link for more details

Professor Xun Yan is one of the 5 primary investigators at UIUC who are working on this project. He is overseeing the development, administration, and validation of proficiency tests in multiple languages that will be taken by candidates who are looking to become certified interpreters for the IEP meetings. So far, the project is focused on the development of proficiency tests for Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Urdu, and Russian. 

Professor Yan is also joined by two graduate assistants from the Department of Linguistics on this project: Ping-Lin Chuang and Yulin Pan. Yulin and Ping-Lin, along with team members from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese (Sara Fajardo and Lorena Alarcon), are currently developing speaking and reading items for English and Spanish proficiency tests. These test items target integrated skills (i.e., listening, speaking, and reading) that are crucial to the evaluation of interpreters’ language proficiency. As a next step, they plan on piloting the items in the Fall semester to gain insights into test quality and revision ideas.