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STANDARD COURSE OF STUDY

WORLD LANGUAGES :: ORAL LANGUAGES :: STEPS IN CREATING AUTHENTIC AND PERFORMANCE-BASED ASSESSMENT TASKS

STEPS IN CREATING AUTHENTIC AND PERFORMANCE-BASED ASSESSMENT TASKS

D. Select the Criteria

Traditionally, students have received number grades of 98%, 82% or 75% on oral tests. Teachers have struggled with assigning these grades, asking themselves, "Is this presentation an 88 or is it an 84?" Often the assignment of these grades was based on very broad guidelines ("I will grade you on pronunciation, message, accuracy, and presentation) without any thorough explanation of what each of those guidelines consisted of.

To help students successfully fulfill an oral performance task's requirements, they need an identification and definition of the criteria against which they are evaluated. In a rubric, the criteria are the different elements which are valued. For example, the comprehensibility of students' speech, the organization of the oral presentation, and the delivery of the presentation are some possible criteria against which a teacher might want to assess the students' language. Once the criteria are determined, two steps need to occur. They are as follow:

1. Definition of what is meant by that criteria, and

2. Determination of the range in the quality of performance. The following questions can be used as guides:

  • What do I mean by (criteria)? What are the different characteristics of the criteria?
  • What would an excellent presentation look like for each of those criteria?
  • What would a poor presentation look like?
  • What would the presentations in the middle look like?

The definitions should be specific enough to eliminate subjectivity for example, if one of the selected criteria is comprehensibility of oral presentation, students get very little feedback by seeing:

Criteria

1

2

3

4

Compre-hensibility Not compre-hensible Compre-hensible at times Mostly compre-hensible Very compre-hensible

The teacher, for each level, needs to ask him/herself, "What does a 4 look like?" "How is it different from a 3?" and so on. Once the criteria has been defined for each level, a more useful definition of comprehensibility might look like the following:

Criteria

1

2

3

4

Compre-hensibility Responses barely compre-hensible. Errors and use of English interfere with comprehension. Requires listener to "figure out" what the student is trying to say. Responses mostly compre-hensible. Some sections may be more difficult to interpret. Clarifications needed to make sense of some entire sections. Some errors which interfere with comprehension of the message. Responses compre-hensible, requiring minimal interpretation on the part of the listener. Few clarifications may be needed for individual words or phrases. Errors do not interfere with the message overall. Responses readily compre-hensible, requiring no interpretation on the part of the listener. No clarifications needed. Errors are minimal and do not interfere with the message.

Adapted from PALS Rubrics, Fairfax, VA. 1999.

While three-point rubrics are acceptable, the areas of concern for teachers often involve how to rate the work in the middle. While it is easy to detect excellent or unacceptable work, average work can span from very good to barely acceptable. Thus, a four-point rubric forces the teacher to further define his/her expectations for the work which falls in the middle.

 

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