Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: Workshop
View & Analyze the Video
In “Planning for Assessment,” Understanding by Design education consultant Allison Zmuda describes the components of a good assessment plan. Ms. Zmuda also joins a round-table discussion on ways to assess student performance and on the use of rubrics and feedback to inform assessment. The discussion is moderated by University of Pittsburgh professor Richard Donato and includes teacher Paris Granville of Pleasant Hill, California, and language coordinator Elizabeth Runnalls of Nanuet, New York. The video also features excerpts from Ms. Granville’s and Ms. Runnalls’s classes, as well as other classes across different grade levels and languages.* The video addresses the following questions:
- How do you assess performance?
- How do the standards inform assessment?
- What are the roles of rubrics and feedback?
*The classroom excerpts featured in this video are from the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 video library. To learn more about the featured lessons, go to the Library Videos Chart.
Watch the Video
- What characteristics of informal assessments do you see in the classroom excerpts in this section? What characteristics of formal assessments do you see in the classroom excerpts?
- In the classroom excerpts, what do you observe about students’ performances during interpersonal communication? What criteria might you use to assess such performances? How might those criteria differ from criteria used for evaluating a presentational performance?
- In the classroom excerpts, how did teachers inform students about their assessment criteria?
- What are the advantages of assessing students on what they can do rather than on what they can’t do?
2. How do the standards inform assessment?
- Why do performance assessments tend to focus on the Communication standards? What portion of your assessments typically focuses on the Communication standards?
- What are the challenges of measuring student performance in the other goal areas: Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities? How might these goal areas play a role in the classroom, even when they are not being formally assessed? In what ways have you tracked students’ growth in these goal areas?
- In a rubric for assessing communication, what is the role of linguistic accuracy? How might you assess the different modes, particularly interpersonal communication and presentational communication?
3. What are the roles of rubrics and feedback?
- What are the advantages of rubrics as evaluation instruments? What are the challenges in creating a rubric?
- What might lead you to revise a rubric?
- When teachers plan from the standards, they must move beyond determining what students should know and be able to do (content) to determining how well they should be able to do it (performance). How do you determine the performance level of your students? How might you design a rubric to incorporate standards other than the Communication standards?
- When might you translate rubrics into numerical or letter grades, and when might you use them just to provide feedback? How do you decide the relative weight of the categories in your rubric for calculating grades?
7.1 Before you Watch
To begin this workshop session, you will tap your prior knowledge and experience and then read current research on designing effective classroom assessments.
Overview 0 Overview
This six-minute video introduces you to the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 Workshop series and provides you with a virtual tour of the Web guide. Watch the video to familiarize yourself with what you will be doing as a participant in the workshop, or to launch a study group using the workshop.
workshop 1 Meaningful Interpretation
This session looks at how the interpretation of texts (including documents, paintings, movies, audio recordings, and more) can go beyond literal comprehension and tap into students' background knowledge while fostering critical-thinking skills.
workshop 2 Person to Person
Focusing on interpersonal communication, session participants discuss how students use language to make themselves understood and to understand others. The session also explores how different teaching approaches encourage or discourage meaningful student interaction.
workshop 3 Delivering the Message
Looking at the presentational mode of communication, this session shows how students and teachers consider a variety of audiences as they create and deliver written presentations.
workshop 4 Subjects Matter
Foreign language teachers promote language learning within the context of other curriculum areas, such as geography, science, and language arts. A look at the research helps teachers address the balance between grammatical form and content in the language classroom.
workshop 5 Rooted in Culture
This session looks at the ways teachers can investigate cultural products and practices with their students and how this will help the students develop a deeper sense of the cultural perspective.
workshop 6 Valuing Diversity in Learners
Students come to the language classroom with a range of literacy and language skills, as well as varying cultural backgrounds and experiences. This session looks at how teachers can help students individually progress, as well as use students' unique skills to contribute to the growth of the class as a whole.
workshop 7 Planning for Assessment
Assessment can be embedded in relevant, meaningful, and authentic performance tasks throughout the year, as well as in culminating activities. The session also addresses the value of ongoing feedback to learners.