Nana Suzumura

The National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association (NFMLTA) and the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL) have named Nana Suzumura as the recipient of one of their graduate students research support awards. Suzumura is a PhD candidate in Japanese language in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. Her research focuses on computer-based language testing.

The $2,500 award supports research in the fields of applied linguistics and language education and provides resources at any stage of dissertation writing. Suzumura was one of only eight recipients who received awards at the April 21 Annual NCOLCTL Conference in Virginia.

“I am very honored to receive the NFMLTANCOLCTL Graduate Students Research Support Award,” Suzumura said. “My dissertation examines the usefulness of the computer-based speaking tasks for the AP [Advanced Placement] Japanese language and culture exam. This is the first study to scrutinize its free response questions. The results of my study will benefit six other AP world language communities that use the conversation tasks in their exams, as well as the Japanese language community.”

Specifically, the results will be able to suggest what kinds of items or prompts work better to measure examinees’ Japanese oral proficiency, and what kinds of language samples can be elicited as evidence. Moreover, the findings from the present study will help language educators who use or are considering using computer-based speaking assessments for placement or classroom assessment purposes. Findings from the study will contribute to the body of research on computer-based speaking assessment.

The research project consists of four phases conducted over two years.