The Storm model of mediational theories: An innovative procedure for evaluation of portfolio-based intermediate Spanish learning programs

John C Storm, Purdue University


The purpose of this study was to conduct a utilization-focused and theoretical criterion-focused evaluation, through students' experiences of using portfolios to learn intermediate Spanish, to provide feedback to the Spanish 201 program and to test how the portfolio's theoretical framework was operating. The theoretical framework consisted of sociocultural theory, activity theory, apprenticeship, and situated learning. Interviews were conducted with a teacher, students, and the stakeholder, who was the Spanish 201 director and designer of the portfolio, to determine: the feedback the program director, the stakeholder, would like to have as a result of this study, the theoretical framework the stakeholder used to design the portfolio, and the experiences of students and a teacher to provide feedback and to test the theoretical framework in action as portfolios were done throughout the course of a semester. Additional data came from the model of approximating the community of practice, that incorporated theoretical concepts from situated learning and apprenticeship, and the model of mediational theories for learning foreign languages and cultures known as the Storm model, that incorporated the previous model as well as the other theories of the framework. The interviews were transcribed and coded according to the mediational means of the Storm model. A qualitative analysis derived themes and patterns that provided answers and extrapolations for the stakeholder's questions, and results to test the theoretical framework. It was found that the theoretical framework was operating as it was hoped to be by the stakeholder. The framework helped students to approximate the Hispanic community through the zone of proximal development and to appropriate Spanish language and culture. The theories also explained what impeded students' progress through the zone of proximal development and approximation towards the Hispanic community. The findings suggested that the Spanish 201 program implement teacher modeling of portfolio activities and individual mini-conferences with students, along with other utilization-focused feedback, to further scaffold students' portfolio learning experience.




Garfinkel, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Language arts

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