High stakes assessment of heritage languages: The case of the Victorian Certificate of Education

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


The opportunity to receive credit toward a high school diploma for heritage language study has been shown to act as a major factor in motivating students to enroll in heritage language (HL) classes. Such courses can allow students to develop higher order literacy skills in the heritage language and help prepare them to use the HL in work contexts. But the heterogeneity of the HL student body creates a number of challenges for equitable assessment. In this chapter, I explore these issues through the lens of the Victorian Certificate of Education, where students may choose from 41 different languages on offer. Most languages in Victoria are only offered at one level only, and I show how this system has encouraged highly proficient recent migrants to enroll in these subjects, sometimes to the detriment of second generation migrants. I also
explore what is taught and assessed in these courses and the degree to which it matches the interests and needs of HL learners. I conclude with recommendations for educators looking to develop their own high-stakes courses for heritage language learners.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research and Practice in Heritage Language Education
EditorsPeter Pericles Trifonas, Themistoklis Aravossitas
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319446943
ISBN (Print)9783319446929
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameSpringer International Handbooks of Education


  • Assessment
  • Chinese Heritage languages
  • Highstakes assessment
  • Language policy in education Victoria

Cite this