Tag Archives: formative

118: What If Common Assessments Are Not Proficiency-Based

Join me on the podcast for a Leveling Up Coaching Episode.

Do you have to balance common assessments with your proficiency-focused classroom?  Is this a bit of a challenge when those common assessments are not all that focus on proficiency and communication? Today’s episode is a Leveling Up episode, where I coach Lisa, a French teacher in Michigan. Balancing common district assessments in a Proficiency-Focused Classroom  is the area where wants to level up her teaching practice. So let’s start the conversation. 


  • Might have to be a both/and during these years of transition. Allow for this.
  • Leave 1-2 days at the end of a unit to check in on the material that should be covered on the district common assessment. Any topics that were not covered during the unit can be quickly added on at the end so that students are prepared.

Action Plan:

This Week:

  • Review the district assessments and analyze the proficiency objectives in your curriculum. Identify specific areas where the two align and make sure that the focus remains on language proficiency, while also setting students up for success on the common assessments.
  • Make note of the topics that will be added on to the final days of the unit to align with the common assessment.

The Coming Weeks:

  • Initiate discussions with department heads or administrators to advocate for the importance of proficiency-focused assessment in language learning.
  • Present evidence of its benefits and explore possibilities of incorporating proficiency tasks into district assessments.
  • Start with the walkers and get them into running mode, then move onto those standing on the side.

Helpful Podcast Episodes on This Topic:

Helpful Blog Posts on This Topic:

You  can also be a part of Leveling Up coaching episode if there is an area of your teaching that you like to improve or enhance.  Join me on the podcast for a Leveling Up Coaching Episode.

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Planning Towards a Goal in the Foreign Language Classroom

Feedback is an important and much-needed part of learning.  It is important that students have a clear understanding of what the goal or end product is so that they don’t feel that they are working just to work.  How many of us have heard students ask, “Why are we learning this?” or “When will I ever need this?”  Students ask this when they are not motivated to learn because the goal that they are working toward is not clear and obvious.  Teachers need to clearly understand what the end goal or product will be, and this needs to be shared with students at the beginning of a unit or lesson.Planning Towards a Goal in the Foreign (World) Language Classroom (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comThroughout the unit or lesson the formative assessment and feedback should always be in relation to the goal.  Comments such as “good work” or “nice job” are not specific and in relation to the goal.  When the goal is presented early on it is more productive to assess formatively and provide feedback toward the goal.  For example, if the goal is to narrate an event in the past, feedback such as, “Your mastery of these regular verb forms will help you to speak confidently about what you did last weekend.  Now turn your focus to these irregular verb forms that will help you speak or write about more events.” Information from  Formative Assessment provides data during the instructional process. Without a clear goal, it is difficult to answer these formative assessment questions:

  • Where am I going?
  • Where am I now?
  • How can I get to where I am going/need to be?

Here are some ways to keep the goal the focus of the a unit or lesson.

Planning Towards a Goal in the Foreign (World) Language Classroom (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.com