- Michele Anciaux Aoki
- Brent Hester, John Stanford International School
- Maria Buceta Miller, John Stanford International School
- Participants from Sheridan Elementary and Stewart Middle
Tell us a bit about what you have learned so far this
What does assessment mean to you?
The topic of our workshop today is
Assessment in a Language Immersion Setting. Find a partner and
take a moment to share what "assessment" means to you. What is
it? Why is it important?
What did you discover?
Fundamentally, assessment is how we tell:
But are they learning?
To answer that question, we need to know:
What is to be assessed
How to assess it
What are some of the things you currently
assess in your classroom or school?
They should mention things like Reading,
Writing, Math, Science, perhaps Spelling, etc.
Now, let's think about how you assess these
This Assessment Profile from the New Jersey
World Languages Curriculum Framework shows a selection of
types of assessments.
Go over the four quadrants and ask them
which ones they do at their schools.
Ask if they'd like to share with the others
any particularly successful assessments they've
Which kind of assessments do they like best?
Which are the hardest to do?
Which are the most rewarding for the
Which give them the best answers to: But
are they learning?
Easel: Write down comments
Show Stiggins' book
Easel: Write down comments
(NJ WL Framework p. 234 (2 in PDF)
What about the immersion language?
There are many things that you assess on a
regular basis, either formally or informally. Some assessments
-- like WASL -- are very much on your mind. But there's
something that's easy to overlook when you're teaching in a
language immersion setting. And that's the language
that your students are learning!
So, is it important to assess the immersion
Well, then, what are you going to assess?
And how will you assess it? That's what we'll be exploring
To begin, what are some things about the
student's knowledge or ability in the immersion language that
it might be reasonable to assess?
Show the K-1st Spanish Goals from last year.
Ask them what some ways might be to assess
some of these goals. (Refer to Assessment Profile.)
Are they using any of the Goals sheets that
we set up last year?
Spanish Goals (Doc)
Tools for Assessment
How many of you have used Rubrics or Rating
Scales for assessment before?
Rubrics are a very handy tool to use for
assessment. They can help you capture useful information to
guide your teaching and provide feedback to the student. They
can also be a good tool for peer assessments and
There are two main kinds of rubrics:
Holistic Rating Scales and Analytic Rating Scales.
Turn to your neighbor for a moment and talk
about what the advantages and disadvantages might be of each.
Give them a moment to look over the example
and discuss this, then ask what they think.
Which would they be more likely to use and
Now, let's take a brief tour through some
other sample assessment rubrics for World Languages. These are
all from the NJ WL Curriculum Frameworks, although many of
them were adapted from the Nebraska FL Frameworks. We'll be
going through these fairly quickly, but I'd like you to notice
which ones appeal to you right away -- you think they might be
a rubric you'd consider using in your class.
Figure 5: Generic Rubrics for
Collaborative Work, Oral Presentations (Simple Answers),
Oral Presentation (Cultural Role Play), Written Materials
(General), and Written Materials (Creative Writing)
Do any of these look like Rubrics you'd
consider using in your classroom? Why?
Figure 6: Portfolios
(Ask them if any of them do Portfolios in their classrooms.)
Figure 8: American Sign Language
(Are they still interested in doing ASL?)
Figure 9: Oral Activity
Have any of you incorporated
self-assessments in your classes? We did one this spring at
John Stanford International School. It was an online
assessment and one 2nd grader's comment was: "Thank you
for asking me about my Japanese. I have not got this test
before. This test is fun! I want to have this test again. Do
you have other tests?"
Figure 10: Oral Report
(Great way for the listeners to give feedback.)
Figure 11: Story Evaluation
(This could be feedback on language, without asking
about things like grammar and vocabulary!)
Figure 12: Expressing a Point of View
(Very helpful for students developing skills to help them do
well on the WASL.)
Figure 13: Story Retelling Checklist
(This could serve as a good self-check for comprehension of
a story read aloud in class by the teacher.)
Incidentally, almost any of these rubrics
could provide strong evidence of the learning that is
happening in your immersion classroom. They would give you
something concrete to show your principal and parents or the
HO: Presentation Rubric
Sample Assessment Rubric (NJ WL Framework p. 241)
Sample Assessment Rubrics
(NJ WL Framework p. 238-248)
||Assessing Oral Proficiency
Many of the Rubrics we just looked at would be great for
assessing student written reports, oral presentations,
portfolios, understanding of story content, etc., but none of
them are quite suitable for measuring a student's ability to
speak and understand language in a conversation. Yet this type
of interpersonal communication is fundamental to
learning another language. In some ways, it's also the hardest
part of learning the language because you're interacting on
the spot without having time to prepare your presentation or
write your report in advance. Ultimately, assessing oral
proficiency is an important part of knowing: But are they
Back in 2001, when we first started the John Stanford
International School, we were fortunate to be able to arrange
for the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) to send a team to
assess the oral proficiency of our students in their first
year of Spanish partial immersion. Over the years we have
worked with CAL to help train teachers at John Stanford, as
well as some students at UW who helped us in the early years.
CAL also produced statistical reports to help us see how our
students' language proficiency was developing year by year.
In the past two years, the teachers at John Stanford
have taken on the responsibility for doing this proficiency
assessment themselves, and even training new teachers to do
it. Brent and Maria have really led the way. Both are
fortunate to have been trained by an expert from CAL.
I invited them to work with us here today so you could
see what is entailed in doing an effective Oral Proficiency
Assessment, and how you can build that type of assessment
right into your classroom work, using a common rubric that
we'll be introducing shortly.
||Introducing the ELLOPA [Michele]
As the popularity of immersion and other elementary
language programs grew in recent years, CAL realized that
teachers and schools needed tools that would be helpful for
assessing very young language learners. So, they developed the
ELLOPA -- Early Language Listening and Oral Proficiency
Assessment. I first saw the ELLOPA presented in Boston at the
ACTFL Conference in 2000, and I recognized that it was
something we should bring to John Stanford International
The ELLOPA has two components: an ELLOPA Interview
(conducted by someone who is not the student's teacher) and
the ELLOPA Teacher Observation Matrix, which is,
obviously, completed by the teacher. The two together help
create a balanced picture of what a student can do.
What we've learned is that the ELLOPA Interview is also
a great way for teachers to gain insight into how to get
students to produce as much language as they can and how to
differentiate student performances using a standard rubric.
What’s the purpose of the ELLOPA Interview?
To assess proficiency – how well students use the language
– not to test what they know about any particular topic. The
goal, then, is to get them to demonstrate their listening
comprehension and to speak at as high a level as possible.
I would now like to invite Maria to come up and give you
a tour of the ELLOPA Interview protocol and share some of her
experiences with the ELLOPA over the past five years.
||ELLOPA Interview [Maria]
- Introduce yourself and explain that we will be watching
an interview in Spanish. It was with two children in their
first year of partial immersion. Although the non-Spanish
speakers might not understand all the individual words, they
can follow along with the transcription of the interview.
(You can also give them the English script -- used for
Japanese, though it is slightly different.)
- Have them take out the materials on the right-hand side
of the packet (ELLOPA scripts). (Hand out the English
version to Japanese teachers if they want it.)
- Go over the script from 2001. Note the elements
(Game 1: Warm-up: Magic Purse; Game 2: Let’s talk with
Señora Vaca; Game 3: Let’s tell a story (or Classroom); Game
4: Let’s sing)
- View sample interview on video (Alden & Noah).
- Hand out the transcribed script and go over with
comments from Beverly Boyson of CAL.
- Talk about your experience of learning to conduct an
ELLOPA Interview. Was it hard? Has it been helpful to you as
a teacher? What have you learned from interviewing students
over the years?
[Brent: Feel free to jump in with comments too!]
2001 Script-Spanish (PDF)
HO: Transcription of
Video: Sample Interview
- Introduce the ELLOPA-RP.
- Go over the Criteria on the Rubric: Oral Fluency,
Language Control (Grammar), Vocabulary, and Listening
- Then, consider the Levels on the ELLOPA-RP: Jr. Novice
Low, Jr. Novice Mid, Jr. Novice High, and Jr. Intermediate
Possible activity (if you think it's appropriate or do
- Have 4 volunteers line up at the front of the room, each
one taking one of the 4 ELLOPA levels. Then you say "Oral
Fluency" and each level reads the text in their box (from
Jr. Novice Low to Jr. Intermediate Low). Then do the same
with Language Control, Vocabulary, and Listening
(Goal is to leave them with an auditory and visual
association with the different levels.)
||Specific Examples of Language
- Show them a blank Interview Rating Sheet used for taking
- Show them a copy of Beverly & Linda’s sheet from 2001
(and/or examples from this year).
- Have them think back to the Alden & Noah Interview they
watched and imagine how they might have rated the students
using the ELLOPA-RP.
- Hand out the Justify Ratings sheet from the Alden & Noah
ELLOPA Interview and go over the actual ratings. Answer
questions they might have about how to notice the
distinctions in the levels.
- You might ask the non-Spanish teachers to think about
comparable examples they might have seen in French or
||SOPA Rating Profile [Brent]
The ELLOPA Scale is helpful for students at the early
levels of language acquisition. It allows us to begin to
measure growth even at the early stages and even with very
young children. Over time, more and more students will surpass
the levels in the ELLOPA Scale. At that point, you can make
use of the SOPA Scale -- which measures 9 levels of
performance. (SOPA stands for Student Oral Proficiency
- Hand out the SOPA-RP.
- Work in pairs to review the levels. (Or do some other
- Talk about how you've seen students progress to these
higher levels, and also how native speakers are rated.
HO: SOPA-RP (PDF)
||Specific Examples of Language for
Note: We can invite Japanese
teachers to go to another room to view some Japanese
interviews we have. French teachers can probably stay with
Spanish teachers, but may need translations.
- Show them the SOPA Spanish Samples to Illustrate Oral
Fluency Levels of the Rating Scale.
- Let them practice rating sample language
- Go back over the justifications for the sample ratings.
Take a moment to think about students you've had over
the past year. If you were to rate their typical language
comprehension and production, where would you place them on
the SOPA Scale.
- Pair K-1, 2-3, 4-5 teachers
- Have them call to mind indications of listening
comprehension, oral fluency, language control, etc.
SOPA Spanish Samples (Doc)
HO: SOPA Spanish Samples for
Practice Ratings (Doc)
HO: SOPA Spanish Samples Rating
||SOPA Teacher Observation Matrix
Welcome back from lunch.
- What questions do you have so far?
We invested some time with you this morning to help you
really get to know the ELLOPA and the SOPA Rating Scales or
Rubrics. That's because they are used not only for the ELLOPA
or SOPA Interviews, but also for teacher ratings.
- Have them take out the SOPA Rating Profile again
In the spring, the immersion teachers complete one of
these evaluations for each of their own students, identifying
at which level the student has been performing, based on the
classroom experience of the teacher.
Taken together, the on-demand ELLOPA or SOPA Interview
and the Teacher Observation Matrix provide a pretty balanced
assessment of the student's oral language proficiency. Working
with CAL in the first couple of years, we could see that on
the whole, the teacher ratings were pretty similar to the
ratings from the interviews. This is encouraging. The goal
would be for classroom-based observations to become a valid
and reliable measure of student oral proficiency.
In years when we have not done the ELLOPA or SOPA
Interviews, we have still encouraged the teachers to complete
the Teacher Observation Matrix so that we can continue to
gather data about the students' progress using the same tool.
Now let me turn it over to Brent and Maria to talk you
some more about this from the teacher perspective.
HO: SOPA-RP (PDF)
||Taking it Further [Brent & Maria]
- Talk about how you've done the TOMs in past years (given
sub time, etc.) -- How long does it take, how difficult is
it, do you need to do your own interviews of your students
in order to check your ratings?
- Brent -- talk about how you keep track of ratings each
year and provide that information to parents too.
- Debrief with them... what would it take for them to feel
comfortable using the SOPA - Teacher Observation Matrix to
rate their students' oral proficiency?
- Show examples of the ELLSSA used for K-1
- Show example of Student Self-Assessment developed by CAL
(for higher grades)
- Talk about benefits of involving students in their own
- Get ideas for how they might do this
Show: ELLSSA examples
||Meeting with Language Families
- Have them break up by Language Family (French, Spanish,
Japanese) and talk about how they might track development of
students' proficiency across the years.
||Communicating with Parents
- How can you communicate with parents about how students
- Show sample reports from ELLOPA data (generated with
mail merge) that have been shared with parents over the past
Show: Examples of reports to parents