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Assessment: Remember...

Standards capture what students should know and be able to do with what they know. Assessment must evolve to provide evidence of achieving these goals. It is not a question of whether teaching to the test is good or bad; rather, the issue is whether it’s the best way to assess. Standards-based assessment provides the vision of what the standards look like in terms of actual student performance.

The aim of assessment is primarily to educate and improve student performance, not merely to audit it.

Wiggins, Grant, and Jay McTighe. 1998. Understanding by Design.Alexandria, Va.: Asso-ciation for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Assessment must capture the essence of the curriculum, the key elements of the instruction, embodying what we truly believe is the most important component of what is taught.

With that in mind, and remembering what you recently learned about the standards and language learning levels, answer the following questions.

Activity 1: Select the communication standard represented by the following performance assessments.

To check their success, the students watch three of the videotaped conversations and write down all that they learned about the students in the videotape.
Students present a description of themselves for the host family where they will be staying in Spain (oral, written, and/or video).
To prepare for the first night at their host family’s home, students pair up and practice what the conversation might be like. They share photographs to describe themselves and their home and community. They ask each other questions about their lives (home, school, family, likes and dislikes). This is videotaped.

Activity 2: Read the following performance tasks. Choose the most appropriate levels that describe the students' progression.

Students move from stating personal preferences and feelings to defending them.
Students move from comprehending the main idea of selected text to comprehending the main idea and supporting ideas.
Students move from recounting a story with description and detail to recounting a long story with a wide variety of descriptions and details.
Students move from expressing personal needs to giving possible solutions to a problem related to a personal need.
Students move from using the dictionary to look up words that cannot be dichiphered via previously learned strategies to analyzing the author's use of language to understand a written text.
Students move from giving simple directions to someone to giving a series of directions and coaching the person in order to complete the task.

Personal Reflection: Please copy and paste the following question into your word processor or download the word document containing the question. Then answer the question and save it for your professional development portfolio. Word Document
  1. Think of one assessment you have done or observed recently that you feel really captured what students can do in the target language. Explain this assessment example and identify what specifically you learned about students' language proficiency through their performance.

Next: Assessment: Learn

© 2004 Wisconsin Association For Language Teachers
Last updated: July 25, 2006