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Basic Outcomes Student Self-Assessment (BOSSA)

Your instructor said you're going to meet in one of the Language Center classrooms to do the BOSSA -- what does that mean?

What is BOSSA and what does it do for me?

Basic Outcomes Student Self-Assessment (BOSSA) was created for language students at the University of Minnesota. With this tool you can improve how you learn a second (or third) language. It gives you opportunities to practice assessing your language ability and to consider how you can you can reach your language proficiency goals. By paying close attention to how you and others use language, you will begin to be aware of your own language strengths and challenges, and you will gain a sense of what is possible for you.

What is self-assessment?

Self-assessment is a skill you can use to reflect on what you are able to do, whether for language, or for any ability you want to develop. It’s something that improves with use; with practice you’ll become more accurate at assessing yourself.

BOSSA guides you to:

  • See what you can do now,
  • Think about what you need to do to improve, and
  • Make a plan to reach manageable objectives.

You learn to rate and be accountable to yourself in order to reach your language goals, whether they are personal, or for a class. It’s really all about you. It’s about becoming autonomous in your language learning.

In the first three speaking tasks you'll have a conversation with Mai.

How does BOSSA work?

Think of BOSSA as an online self-assessment training program. This is what you’ll do.

  1. Speak:   First, record yourself speaking in response to prompts in the language you study.
  2. Listen & Reflect:   Listen to your recordings. Now you have a concrete point of reference and you can start to notice how you use language.
  3. Analyze:   Practice measuring how well you speak using worksheet criteria.
  4. Discuss:   Talk with classmates and discover what you have in common: where you are on your language-learning path and where you are going. Come up with suggestions for what you can do to improve.
  5. Rate yourself:   Now you are ready for the last step — Assess your own language skills! Take the online Build on Language Track (BoLT) survey, and get immediate feedback estimating your proficiency level based on how you’ve assessed yourself.

Don't expect perfect accuracy the first time you assess yourself. Remember, this is training. You can continue training at any time (both in and out of class) since now you have the basic skills that go into self-assessment. By assessing yourself regularly you will be better able to rate yourself and track how you've improved in your language abilities.

Once you know your course’s objectives, you’ll be able to say "I can do this pretty well, but I need to work at that. So here’s what I’m going to do to get better." It’s as simple as that.

Does this sound interesting?

If your class is not currently participating in BOSSA, ask your instructor if your class can get involved!

What students have to say about BOSSA:

  • “I think that BOSSA is great. It was a huge wake-up call for where I was in my language learning. This has definitely helped with my proficiency and confidence.”
  • “I think it [BOSSA] helps you be more critical of your own work. I think that’s an important part of learning a language because, at the end of the day, you’re the one who needs to make the changes because you’re the one speaking. Someone can give you corrections, but if you don’t apply them or try to make it better, you won’t get any better than you were before. It’s a nice way to evaluate how you think you did."