In the Elementary Spanish program, students are assessed throughout their experience to ensure that they are growing in their language ability and communication skills in the four areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Careful attention is paid to the Proficiency Standards developed by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language (ACTFL) and assessments have been developed to assess students’ abilities with respect to these standards.
PRACTICAL ASSESSMENT TASKS
Practical Assessment Tasks are performance-based activities that have been developed by the teachers in the Wilmette Elementary Spanish program to give the students practical situations in which to use their language skills. In these Practical Assessment Tasks, students use their language skills through comprehension, conversation and presentation.
Students are put in a mock situation and are asked to do three different tasks based on that situation. The situation is derived from the current unit of study. The three tasks are: a comprehension task, where a student is asked to demonstrate comprehension of the content-based vocabulary that has been learned, a conversation task, where two students engage in spontaneous conversation according to the prompt that has been given and a presentation task, in which an individual student creates and presents something written and/or something spoken. Research has shown that through an increased use of practical, performance-based activities, students will improve in their overall communication and functional proficiency. The Practical Assessment Tasks used in District 39 show that students have the ability to transfer what they have learned in class to real-life situations.
Performance on each of these tasks will be reported home on a rubric designed specifically for that unit. The items on the rubric correspond directly to the standards being evaluated on the report card.
Click HERE for a sample Assessment Task
Click HERE for a sample rubric
Students in Kindergarten through fourth grades will receive marks on their report cards so that they, along with their parents, are aware of the progress they are making in their Spanish class. The report cards are standards-based at the elementary level and the Spanish portion is meant to highlight the proficiency level that a student may be at when report cards are given.
Students will receive a grade of an “M” (Meets Standards), a “W” (Working Toward Standards) or an “E” (Experiencing Difficulty). Students will be evaluated on their language production (how much or little they are speaking or writing in Spanish) and on their comprehension of content-specific language (vocabulary comprehension and use). Fourth graders will additionally be evaluated on their use of new grammatical structures in speaking and writing.
To monitor progress of a particular grade level of students, and for help in improving instruction and the functional proficiency of the students in the Elementary Spanish program, the Early Language Learning Oral Proficiency Assessment (ELLOPA) is administered to a random sample of students in Kindergarten and second grades and the Standard Oral Proficiency Assessment (SOPA) is administered to a random sample of students in fourth grade.
Both the ELLOPA and the SOPA are oral interview assessment tools that have been developed by language professionals at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL). Wilmette teachers have been trained in administering the interviews and they conduct them at each building at the end of the school year.
Information from these interviews is gathered and monitored to ensure improvement in language production and language proficiency during program implementation. Group data is used to make modifications and improvements to the program so that Wilmette students show consistent growth on the language proficiency scale.