The ACTFL Proficiency Levels and Performance Descriptors provide a useful way of creating prompts and assessing student communication in the classroom.
The Performance Descriptors break proficiency down into several categories: Language Control, Vocabulary and Strategies. Depending on the task a cultural assessment may also be a part of this. Quite often the challenge is finding a way to concretely assess students in these categories.
When creating an assessment, the teacher should begin by going over exactly what language looks like at each proficiency level. By knowing the current proficiency level of students the teacher can create prompts that require speaking, listening, writing and reading that is possible for students to accomplish without going too far above or below their proficiency level. If you need a refresher on assessing proficiency levels and communication strategies take a look at these posts:
Begin planning each task with these questions:
- What is the current text type of students (proficiency level)?
- What are the language structures to be assessed?
- What is the vocabulary theme?
- What communication strategies are needed?
Then, based on this information, write a prompt that will allow students to speak, read, listen, write and communicate at a proficiency level that is appropriate to them. It’s important to follow this order so that the prompt is appropriate to the proficiency level.
You can download detailed rubrics that assess interpersonal, interpretive and presentational communication HERE. They include text type, language control, vocabulary and communication strategies and can be used on any topic or proficiency level.