Principles of Assessment in World Languages

The following file contains ruminations from Greg Duncan about what matters in assessment.

The video links below are an expanded narration of the above Principles of Assessment in World Languages.

Video Part 1

Video Part 2

Importance of Performance-Based Assessment

Thanks to the collaboration of STARTALK (National Foreign Language Center, University of Maryland) and AdvanceLearning, a suite of rich resources is available to help teachers enhance their understanding of performance assessment over achievement testing in their classrooms. Visitors to the site given below will find an introductory document on the importance of performance-based assessment, a processing guide to be used as the document is read, a video featuring the voices of teachers and students as they talk about performance assessment, a video viewing guide, and an infographic.

Performance Assessment

Performance-Based Assessment Tasks

Standards-based teaching and learning means standards-based assessment which argues against lots of paper-and-pencil testing. If the purpose of assessment is to show students what they can do with the language, assessments must be designed for that purpose. Enter performance-based assessment . . . Like rubrics, good performance tasks are tricky to create and can also be time-consuming. Below are some sites teachers can go to to find tasks that are already created and ready to use, and teachers can use these as examples of the kinds of tasks they, too, can create, if they choose.

Jefferson County Public Schools, Lousiville, KY

Georgia Department of Education

Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey (FLENJ)

Ohio Foreign Language Association (OFLA)


Every teacher who has ever tried to create a rubric knows that rubric development is hard work. And it is also tricky work, especially if we are trying to measure student proficiency. Many language educators have only a passing knowledge of what it means to be a Novice, an Intermediate or an Advanced speaker, listener reader or writer, and for that reason, I recommend that teachers use standardized rubrics that have been carefully calibrated to reflect ACTFL descriptors. Below are some examples in that vein.

Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey (FLENJ)

Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, KY

Converting Rubrics to Grades

Many teachers find the conversion of rubric scores to grades for a grade book a challenging experience. Some assessment experts suggest that a "Meets Expectations" score should garner a "B" with an "Exceeds Expectations" an "A" while others think "Meets Expectations" equals an "A-" and an "Exceeds" an "A+." Needless to say, whatever route a teacher goes should be consistently adhered to. The following is the recommendation from the Jefferson County (KY) Public Schools.