Developing Relevant Performance Assessments

Performance assessments are an important part of any World Language classroom.  We want to see what students can do with their language skills, and we can only see that by asking them to use language in meaningful ways. But it isn’t enough to ask learners to show off their skills. We have to ensure that performance assessments are relevant to students. Why are we asking them to write this paragraph, have this conversation, or record this message? Is it meaningful for students? Additionally, we need to ensure that the task is aligned to the appropriate performance target and mode of communication. The SCRAP model (Almeida, L. & Ainsworth, L., 2009) can help to ensure that performance assessments are relevant for students and will show what they can do in the target language.

Situation

Challenge

Role

Audience

Product/Performance

A performance task should be written to include the components of the SCRAP model. The situation is important, as it sets the context for the task and addresses why the product or performance is needed.  The challenge tells learners what they are to do, and the role, audience, and product/performance naturally flow from the situation and challenge. Note the example below and find the components of the SCRAP model in this prompt.

Example:

Our school’s guidance office needs help providing information to Spanish-speaking parents. Choose a topic related to school life and develop a flyer containing important information to share with parents. Topics include, but are not limited to: arrival/dismissal times and daily schedules, choices of classes and clubs, needed supplies, transportation, and school rules.

Questions to ask yourself as you develop the prompt for a performance task are:

  • Is it realistic that students would do this task in the target language?
  • Does the type of language they will produce align with the performance target and mode of communication?
  • Is the task-relevant and interesting for students?

Almeida, L. and Ainsworth, L. (2009). Engaging classroom assessments: The making standards work series. Lead+Learn Press.

 

Integrated performance assessments are a critical tool in all Vista Higher Learning world language programs.

 

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