Please read the information on this page carefully before proceeding:

Thank you for your interest in volunteering to evaluate applications for the U.S. Department of State’s 2022 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Spark Program.

Finalists for CLS Spark will be selected in one round of selection taking place in two stages

Stage One:
Approximately 25 applications will be assigned to each selected evaluator within the first week of June 2022. Each evaluator will have approximately two weeks to rate each application in their set against a detailed selection rubric. Evaluators will be required to read and score the full set of applications assigned to them no later than an assigned deadline in mid June such that they are prepared to discuss each application with another evaluator in stage two.

Stage Two:
Evaluators will meet in pairs to discuss the top 10 to 20 applications from their shared set on an assigned date between June 21 and 30. Through this discussion they will identify approximately 5 applications to recommend for final selection.

In order to ensure a diversity of experience in the evaluation process, the CLS Program makes an effort to include both new evaluators and those with experience evaluating for CLS in the past to fill a limited number of spaces. It is therefore may not be possible to accommodate everyone with interest.

The CLS Program seeks evaluators/panelists with a variety of backgrounds and experiences, in order to build a diverse pool of evaluators/panelists. Language speaking proficiency or teaching experience are not required.

Time Commitment:

If you have evaluated applications for the summer CLS Program in the past, please note that applications for the Spark program are shorter in length with just three brief (200-300 word) essays and no letters of recommendation to review.

The time it takes to evaluate each application varies from reader to reader. Once you become familiar with evaluation rubric, we expect the average time it takes to read and score an application to be around 10 to 15 minutes.

Once you are comfortable using our selection rubric, we expect that you will be able to read and score around four to six applications per hour. Given that we will assign an average of 25 applications to each volunteer, and that we require all volunteers to thoroughly review our training materials, we estimate the minimum time commitment for first round readers to be about five or six hours over the course of the two weeks during which reading takes place in addition to a half day selection panel discussion on an assigned date between June 21 and 30.

Additional Notes:

  • This is a volunteer activity; evaluators will not receive an honorarium for the evaluation of CLS Spark applications. We are grateful for our community of dedicated readers and could not facilitate this program without this community. We hope that many of you will still find value in participating in the process both personally and professionally, and that the opportunity to engage with our application and selection process will benefit your work with students. As a small thanks for your contribution to this process, we will provide a letter outlining the importance of this service, which we encourage you to use in a promotion and tenure file, or any portfolio or dossier for professional or academic advancement.
  • Prior to reviewing applications, evaluators are expected to thoroughly review provided materials, including the selection rubric and evaluation training materials.
  • Evaluators will need to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to reading any CLS Spark applications. This form will be provided electronically and can be completed online.

Thank you again for your time and interest. Due to the volume of interest in evaluating applications for the CLS Program, not everyone who expresses interest may be asked to serve as an evaluator.

If you are not available to evaluate applications this year, but would like to remain on the distribution list for next year's interest survey, please provide contact information on the next page.

Please write to Natalie Spencer at with any questions.