I had a wonderful PD opportunity last week to sit in with the truly vanguard Jefferson County Public School world languages department. They have spent at least the last two years developing communicative, proficiency-based, performance based units, assessments, and rubrics at levels 1 and 2 for Spanish and French. I have been so inspired by them that even though I put in a lot of work mapping out our Spanish 1 and 2 last summer (which I don't even teach-I was doing it for a new teacher), I have realized how disorganized, unstructured, and not-proficiency-based it was and I'm doing it all over again, even more deeply, for our (third in three years) new teacher.
One of the big questions of the week was this: How do we inform our students about proficiency levels, and keep them informed?
What, you mean my students are supposed to know what these are? Before about a year or two ago, I didn't know what they were. But it makes perfect sense. Proficiency levels shouldn't be a secret; they should be incredibly clear to everyone: students, parents, teachers, administration. So how do we inform them? My answer is fairly basic - I pushed my students to try to sustain the past tense in order to cross the barrier from Intermediate to Advanced, because that's what the ACTFL (past) president Eileen Gliesen said to do in a workshop I went to. And I made proficiency-based very detailed rubrics. That's about it. And you? How do you inform them?