Saturday, September 1, 2012

Personalized Assessment Made Easy: An Example of Standards-Based Grading in Foreign Language

One my dozen or so standards is "Hearing Latin." The point is to assess how well students can deal with hearing the sounds of the language and, at a more advanced level, how well they can understand the sounds they hear. Here is the rubric:

At level 2, students are able to able to hear some sounds; at level 3, they can hear all the sounds; at level 4, they go beyond just hearing sounds and start hearing meaning. It is a natural ladder of progression.

The beauty of all this, though, is that it makes personalizing assessment (a.k.a. differentiated assessment) super easy. First, take a quick look at the assessments for levels 2, 3, and 4.

Assessment for Level 2: Students fill in endings as they listen

Assessment for Level 3: Students write the whole passage as they listen

Assessment for Level 4: Students answer questions as they listen

And of course, the passage for each assessment can be THE SAME:

Caecilius est in atrio. Caecilius in atrio pecuniam numerat. Quintus atrium intrat. Caecilius surgit. Quintus patrem salutat. Caecilius Quinto pecuniam dat. Quintus exit et ad forum festinat. Caecilius in villa manet.

So each individual student is attempting whatever level they need according to previous assessments of the same standard. This is a real benefit of creating rubrics according to Marzano's Formative Assessment and Standards-Based Grading. Because each higher level build directly on the level below it, the tasks have the same foundation but different degrees of depth and rigor. So all I have to do is read the passage three times out loud as each student completes one of the three assessments. Easy peasy.

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  1. I really like this post because it makes the task of differentiation look so easy. I think it could also help when a teacher has a split level class. Do you have a similar system for reading? I would love to know more about that.

    1. A similar system could be used with any standard, I suppose, if the tasks associated with each rank (0, 1, 2, 3, and 4) built on the one below it in the same way as this "Hearing Latin" rubric does. As it is now my rubrics don't all have the quite the same umph, if you know what I mean. Everything is a work in progress, but it would be nice if every rubric allowed the teacher to administer assessments in this way. Some day soon I'll post all my rubrics on this blog (some 6 and all) and I will try to remember to address this question at that time. (I'm adding you on Google+, by the way! Do you use Twitter?)