Grading by the standards
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Grading by the Standards. Carrie Toth NBCT World Languages other than English Carlyle High School. @ senoraCMT on Twitter. Language Acquisition vs. Language Learning. Acquisition and Memorization take place in different parts of the brain.

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Grading by the Standards

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Grading by the Standards

Carrie Toth

NBCT World Languages other than English

Carlyle High School

@senoraCMT on Twitter

Language Acquisition vs. Language Learning

  • Acquisition and Memorization take place in different parts of the brain.

  • We have to be realistic about the amount of language that our students can learn within the time constraints that we have.

ACTFL Standards

Standards Based Assessment

  • Grading includes ONLY those activities that reflect students’ proficiency in language.

  • Grade is divided into categories or “standards” so that students are able to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Assessments are divided by category, not a lump grade for all skills.

Summative vs. Formative assessments

  • Formative assessments should not penalize students for not having acquired the current structures. They should be used as a guide for future instruction.

  • Summative assessments should be given after it is certain that 80% of students are at an 80% proficiency on current material.

Are we expecting the right things?



  • Reading

  • Writing

  • Speaking

  • Listening

  • Culture

  • Vocabulary

  • Grammar/Structures

  • Homework?

  • Participation?

Percentages may vary but:

  • Reading and Listening reflect students’ understanding of the language and are important skills so I value them at 25% each in level one, 20% each in level 2, and 15% each in levels 3 and 4.

  • Writing and Speaking reflect students’ ability to produce language and are the highest level skills so I value them at 15% each in level one, 20% each in level 2, and 25% each in levels 3 and 4.

  • Grammar and Vocabulary knowledge are less important but essential parts of language learning so I value them at 5% each.

  • Cultural knowledge is also a component of my program and I value it at 10%

Ideas for assessment

  • Listening:

    • Songs

    • Podcasts

    • Commercials

    • Re-tells of class stories

    • Audio books

    • Newscasts


    • Music videos

    • Stories using current vocabulary


  • News stories (appropriately adapted by level)

  • Chapters of novels

  • Classroom stories

  • Articles from student magazines like Scholastic’s

  • Articles from People or other Spanish magazines

  • Cartoons

  • Websites with train schedules, menus, and other authentic resources.

  • Write down the story that you told in class and have students read it. Circle as you go.

  • Use novels by TPRS Publishing or any TPRS friendly type of reading material.

  • Have a reading library in your classroom.

  • Give FVR time.

  • Bring in magazines!!!

(shameless plug)TPRS Publishing Novels


  • Google voice

  • Re-tells

  • Classroom discussions

  • Debates

  • PechaKuchas

  • AUTHENTIC tasks with the current vocabulary.

  • Stolen from Paul Sandrock… Diagram of 4 squares as discussion prompt.


  • Re-tells

  • Summaries

  • Captions

  • Persuasive- Express your opinion on a given topic.

  • Informative

  • Story to storybook

  • Comparative

  • Write a letter, email, blog post, tweet a friend

Structures Vocabulary and Culture

  • Look at these three as part of the other assessments.

  • As a summative assessment of structures studied, give a writing assignment of telling a story based on pictures. Grade categories include use of new vocabulary, correctness of structures, and ease of expression.

Use novels as a curriculum

  • Develop cultural units with novels as the center.

    • Choose structures based on the grammar introduced in the novel.

    • Pre-teach all vocabulary and cultural knowledge needed to get students invested in the novel study.

    • Vary activites as you read because brains crave novelty!


  • Front load grammar and culture.

    • Ask a lot of personalized questions with the vocabulary.

    • Use the vocab in class discussions.

    • Cultural lessons.

    • Film studies.

  • MAKE READING REALISTIC: It’s a novel and your kids may just want to read it for enjoyment. If you test, aim for performance based assessments rather than reading comprehension quizzes.

  • Stop and talk about how students feel!

  • Act out scenes

  • Connect to the characters.

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