Language teachers know the importance of target language use in the classroom. Regular exposure and interaction with the language leads to acquisition and a higher proficiency level. In order to promote, expect and respect the use of the target language in the classroom teachers should support students by creating a classroom community that makes students feel safe taking risks with the language and teach the tools needed to communicate. Students should also know their proficiency level and be personally accountable for their commitment to using the target language and striving to raise their proficiency level.
In my classroom I have a 20 point rubric that I use to assess students each week on four focus areas: Community, Commitment, Proficiency, and Preparation.
Each category is based a five point scale. Students are aware of these criteria and they are posted in the classroom so that they can be references regularly. I typically grade each student myself for the first few weeks of the school year and then students self-assess, but I of course reserve the right to modify the self-assessment grade if necessary. The grade is given holistically for the entire week. Here is the breakdown of each category:
- 5 Choices and interactions enhance the classroom community.
- 4 Choices and interactions almost always enhance the classroom community.
- 3 Choices and interactions sometimes enhance the classroom community.
- 2 Choices and interactions often hinder the classroom community.
- 1 Choices and interactions regularly hinder the classroom community.
For recommendations on classroom community building see my post on Building a Community of Confidence.
- 5 Always speaks target language and circumlocutes.
- 4 Always speaks target language with some effort to circumlocute.
- 3 Makes an effort to speak target language, but need to circumlocute more.
- 2 Resorts to native language; no circumlocution.
- 1 Little use of target language.
For tools and strategies for students to remain in the target language see my posts on circumlocution, functional chunks and language ladders.
- 5 Regularly speaks at expected proficiency level and strives to speak above level.
- 4 Regularly speaks at expected proficiency level.
- 3 Usually speaks at expected proficiency level and below level at times.
- 2 Regularly speaks below proficiency level.
- 1 Always speaks below proficiency level.
See my post on Foreign Language Goal Setting Using ACTFL Proficiency Levels to learn about assessing students’ proficiency levels.
- 5 Punctual, has all materials, assignments complete.
- 4 Punctual, has most materials, assignments complete.
- 3 Punctual, has all materials, assignments incomplete.
- 2 Late or missing materials.
- 1 Late or missing materials, assignments incomplete.
Try out this rubric system and modify to fit the needs and of your individual classroom. I’m sure you will see an increase in student accountability for using the target language and you will feel confident that you are supporting your student in their language proficiency growth.
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