Contextualized Reading Assessment (CoRA)

The Contextualized Reading Assessment (CoRA) is part of the Minnesota Language Proficiency Assessments (MLPA) battery of instruments developed for the purpose of certifying the second language proficiency of secondary and post-secondary students.

The CoRA is a 35-item, multiple-choice test for French, German, and Spanish at the Intermediate-Low or Intermediate-High levels of the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.

The number of readings within the CoRA varies by language, but on average there are 12 texts with an average of three questions per text. Each text is contextualized for test takers to enable them to form expectations about topic and text type before reading. Authentic readings on diverse topics taken from a variety of sources are united within a theme to motivate readers to interact with L2 texts.

Texts included in the CoRA are evaluated along several scales:

  • The text content scale refers to the generalizability of topic interest.
  • Organizational characteristics scales refer to linguistic complexity (simple vs. complex sentence structure, basic vs. non-basic vocabulary) and the complexity of textual development (sequential vs. non-sequential).
  • The cultural content scale refers to the amount of specific knowledge about the target culture and its conventions in written communication that the reader must possess to fully comprehend the text.

The appropriateness of any text cannot be determined by its position along any one scale; instead, we consider the text along all scales simultaneously. For Intermediate level readers, appropriate texts commonly:

  • are about topics of general interest
  • are organized sequentially
  • are written in basic sentence patterns
  • contain a high percentage of basic vocabulary
  • do not require specific knowledge about life in the target culture
  • do not require specific knowledge about the target culture's ways of presenting information in writing

In addition to the CoRA, many more items have been developed across a range of levels. All items were to be incorporated into a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) of reading proficiency in French, German, and Spanish for which CARLA devised a theoretical, research-based framework to guide item development for the CAT.  At present, CARLA is not pursuing the development of a CAT. The framework is discussed at length in An Operational Framework for Constructing a Computer-Adaptive Test of L2 Reading Ability: Theoretical and Practical Issues.

Like the Contextualized Listening Assessment (CoLA), the CoRA is scored automatically. Results are saved on a secure server from which teachers can download results in a spreadsheet format.

Sample Reading Tasks
French 1 German 1 Spanish 1
French 2 German 2 Spanish 2

Other MLPA instruments

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