Over the years NILI has developed materials to aid language revitalization workers in setting and assessing benchmarks in Indigenous language learning.  Benchmarks are a statement to students, teachers and parents of what students of NW Indian languages need to know and do in order to make progress toward proficiency in their languages. It is important to remember that these benchmarks are statements of minimum expectations.

In 2000, together with the State of Oregon’s Office of Bilingual Education and tribes of the Northwest, NILI wrote the Northwest Indian Language Proficiency Benchmarks. It has been revised 6 times as we learn more about second language acquisition of Northwest languages.

Language Proficiency Benchmarks

NILI assisted The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in writing the Chinuk Wawa Proficiency Benchmarks to measure their teacher’s language development.  This project began in 2002 and is to date in its 3rd revision.

In 2003, NILI assisted the Klamath Tribes in writing the Klamath Language Proficiency Benchmarks used by their teachers and learners of Klamath and Modoc.

In 2007, together with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, NILI developed the Umatilla Sahaptin, Cayuse and Walla Walla Language Proficiency Benchmarks for teachers and learners of all three languages.

In 2007, Smith River Rancheria and NILI developed the Taa-laa-wa Dee-ni’ Wee-ya’ Benchmarks.

In 2007, The Palatisha Miyanaashma “The Children Are Growing” Indian Education Program Language Benchmarks with an emphasis on Ichishkiin language revitalization were developed with the Palatisha Miyanaashma program at the Toppenish School District.

Starting in 2008, NILI, Oregon Tribes and the Oregon University System began developing Native language proficiency benchmarks for learners of Native languages as “second or world languages” within the Oregon University System. NILI developed the benchmarks in 2010. Students in the OUS and community college system receive credit for learning (their) Native languages to meet BA, MA and PHD requirements.

In 2010, we began gathering information from our UO student learners and learners at the Yakama Nation’s Language Program to develop the Yakama Ichishkiin Proficiency Language Benchmarks. This is a collaborative project with the Yakama Nation’s Language Program.

2012. We are beginning to rework the Lushootseed Proficiency Benchmarks as we are able to look at learners from many years of community teaching and now learners at UO.

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