Mahmoud Azaz

Assistant Professor, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies
2018 CUES Distinguished Fellow

Note: Title was current at time of award and may have changed.

Integration of instruction and assessment to build up foreign language proficiency: A standards-based model

This project develops a pedagogy model that integrates standards-based instruction and assessment to consolidate foreign language proficiency at the University of Arizona. The proposed project translates the foreign language proficiency standards into clear procedures in the language classroom. In addition, it uses evidence-based assessment tools to evaluate the standards and continuously update them. Although the model focuses on Arabic as a strategic language, potential use of the model extends to other foreign languages at the University.

Project Outcomes

In comparison to the commonly taught languages, less commonly taught languages lack models with rigorous curricular, instructional, and assessment components. With support from the CUES Fellowship, this project has developed a rigorous curriculum with solid scholarship that builds linguistic and sociopragmatic competence in Egyptian Arabic. Using the World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages and the Proficiency Guidelines developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the project has developed tangible performance indicators and benchmarks that are aligned with these Standards and Guidelines. The curricular component of the project has improved the student learning experience in learning dialectal Arabic side by side with Standard Arabic in two large Arabic programs at the University of Arizona and Michigan State University. Student linguistic and sociopragmatic development and critical multiliteracies have been at the forefront of the project. Student knowledge and skills have been tested and documented in classroom-based research to make sure that they meet the performance indicators and benchmarks. Innovative use of technology was leveraged to meet the project’s goals. The project has been accepted as a language textbook in contemporary Egyptian Arabic by Georgetown University Press. The textbook is now slated for the national market for Fall 2022. Also, the classroom research conducted in the project has formed the genesis for a monograph on sociopragmatic competence in Arabic dialects. The framework used in the project can be extended to other Arabic dialects and foreign languages. The assessment component of the project is crucial to activities in foreign language programs.


Azaz, M. (in progress). Enhancing L2 Pragmatic Competence in Elementary Arabic Textbooks: The Role of Speech Acts in Egyptian Arabic. Foreign Language Annals, Wiley.

Azaz, M. & Mohamed, A. (Forthcoming). El-Mumtaaz: Contemporary Beginning Egyptian ArabicGeorgetown University Press. Washington, DC.

Oraby, E. & Azaz, M. (2022). Translanguaging Practices in Content-Based Instruction in L2 Arabic. Applied Linguistics (OUP). DOI:

Azaz, M., & Abourehab, Y. (2021). Should Standard Arabic have “the lion’s share?”: Teacher ideologies in L2 Arabic through the lens of pedagogical translanguagingIntercultural Communication Education, 4(1), 90–105. DOI:

Azaz, M. (2020). Language program coordination during the pandemic: Challenges encountered and lessons learned. Second Language Research & Practice, 1(1), 174–178. Available from:

Abourehab, Y. & Azaz, M. (2020). Pedagogical translanguaging in community/heritage Arabic language learningJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2020.1826496.


OCT 2022: Integration of Instruction and Assessment in World Language Education: Insights from Arabic as a Diglossic/Multidialectal Language2022 Annual Symposium on Language Pedagogy in Higher Education (SOLPHE), Virtual.

MAY 2022: Transforming curricula on Arabic intercultural pragmatics: Innovative approaches for redesigning textbook materialUCLA EPIC-Lang Conference, Virtual.

APR 2021: Integrating National Guidelines in Foreign Language Teaching: The case of Arabic Dialects, CUES Inside UA-Funded Scholarship Series, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

APR 2020: Transforming Language Curricula: Envisioning Open-resource Textbooks, Michigan State University College of Arts & Letters, East Lansing, MI.

FEB 2020: Integration of Instruction and Assessment to Build up Foreign Language Proficiency: A Standards-Based Model19th Annual Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Interdisciplinary Roundtable Conference, Tucson, AZ.

JAN 2020: Integration of instruction and assessment to build up foreign language proficiency: A standards-based model The 2020 Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Meeting, Language and Literature Program Innovation, Seattle, WA.

NOV 2019: The integration of ACTFL Standard in Arabic Pedagogy2019 Annual Convention of the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages, sponsored by the American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators, and Directors of Language Programs, Washington, DC.

2018 CUES Distinguished Fellows