Pedagogical Language Diagnostics
Academic language support engages the linguistic background that children and young people bring to educational themes and content, and channels it in the acquisition of new linguistic media.
The concept of integrated language education presupposes careful diagnoses of language abilities. For attending diagnostics, selective and one-off tests are not the most appropriate approach. Rather, systematic and continuous monitoring of the linguistic characteristics that individual learners bring to learning exercises is applied. Pedagogical language diagnostics ought to affirm the linguistic starting points of and advances made by learners with the obtained data exposing relative strengths and weaknesses. The elimination of weaknesses can then contribute to strengths. Developments in language acquisition can be observed through continuous monitoring, which does not only account for progress made, but also for periods of stagnation and regression.
Diagnostic instruments were especially lacking when the FörMig Model Programme began. Instruments aimed at academic language acquisition and geared towards models of bilingualism for the interface periods from primary to secondary level and from education to training were required. New methods were therefore developed and good approaches further developed. The following key aspects were put in place:
- HAVAS 5 was commended for the diagnosis of oral abilities in first and second languages in the transition from elementary to primary level;
- FÖRMIG's Tulip Bed was developed for the diagnosis of written narrative abilities in first and second languages in the transition from primary to secondary level;
- FÖRMIG's Boomerang was developed for the diagnosis of writing abilities with regard to job-related texts in the transition from secondary education to training, and in both first and second languages.
Furthermore, projects carried out in each of the federal states gained experience with the available diagnostic instruments, adapted such methods to suit their specific purposes, or developed their own methodologies. For example, the project in Berlin created "Learning documentation for language" (Lerndokumentation Sprache), the projects in Saxony and Schleswig Holstein produced "Standards for German as a Second Language" (Niveaubeschreibungen Deutsch als Zweitsprache), and Brandenburg developed "Tulip L2". And "Attending diagnostics for writing development" (Prozessbegleitende Diagnose der Schreibentwicklung) stemmed from an inter-state working group.