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Teaching Foreign Languages Workshops Home
    7: Planning for Assessment

Examine the Topic

Before You Watch
Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic
Put it Into Practice
Action Research Project
Reflect on Your Learning

Library Video Chart
AssignmentNow that you have read the research and viewed the video discussion on assessment, you will examine the topic further by analyzing a project description to see how it implements elements of an effective performance assessment.

A performance assessment can empower teachers to focus their instruction in a way that is meaningful and exciting to students and can motivate students to become more invested in their learning. An important part of a well-planned performance assessment is the description of the project that you provide to students. An effective description informs students about your expectations for the project and gives them strategies for meeting those expectations. The following is a list of the elements of an effective project description.

Elements of a Project Description

  1. The desired performance task is described.
  1. Authenticity of product and performance is achieved.
  1. Criteria and performance standards are established for students.
  1. Strategies useful to the task are made explicit.
  1. The rubric is communicated and modeled.

A. Analyzing a Project Description

For this activity, you will analyze the description of a portfolio project designed by Elizabeth Runnalls and Wendie Santiago for a Spanish IV class in Nanuet, New York. As a culminating project, students wrote and illustrated a children's story, then recorded it on audiotape and performed it for younger students. To help them draft their text and rehearse their presentations, students were provided with a project description as well as rubrics for the written, artistic, and oral components of the project.

You will now use the elements of a project description to analyze the children's story project description.
 Click on the image to begin. Click on the image to begin.
If you would like to explore the elements of a project description further, consider analyzing a project description from Jane Shuffelton's Russian I, II, and III classes. For this project, students were asked to write a letter of introduction about themselves that would be sent to a teenager in the Republic of Georgia.

To begin, print out the Georgia Letter Project Description (PDF, 83 K) form and highlight the sections of the text that contain the five elements of a project description described above. When you are finished, you can use the Georgia Letter Project Description -- Sample Analysis (PDF, 83 K) form to compare your answers.

B. Reflect on the Activity

After comparing your analysis of the project description(s) with the sample answers, reflect on the following questions:
  1. How do you think the degree of authenticity that was built into the assessment affects the results?
  1. How does having a description of a project's end product help you facilitate the task? How does it help your students complete the task?
  1. What observations can you make about how the teacher(s) communicated the task, rubrics, and strategies to students?
Assignment Write a brief summary of what you learned from this activity to submit as an assignment.

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7: Planning for Assessment > Introduction | Before You Watch | Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic | Put It Into Practice | Action Research Project | Reflect on Your Learning
Resources | Library Videos Chart | Printouts | Assignments

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