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Creating an Assessment Unit
Process: Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) Units
ACTFL has developed a prototype for assessing the progress language students are making in achieving the K-16 standards as well as in developing their language proficiency. The Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) is a cluster assessment featuring three tasks, each of which reflects one of the three modes of communication--Interpretive, Interpersonal and Presentational--as outlined in the ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners (1998) and the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (National Standards for Foreign Language Education Project, 1999). The three tasks are aligned within a single theme or content area, reflecting the manner in which students naturally acquire and use the language in the real world or the classroom. Each task provides the information and elicits the linguistic interaction that is necessary for students to complete the subsequent task. IPAs are designed for students at the novice-, intermediate-, and pre-advanced levels of proficiency. They are standards-based; performance-based; developmental in nature; integrative; designed to be used with scoring rubrics that rate performance in terms of whether it meets expectations, exceeds expectations, or does not meet expectations for the task; and valid and reliable.
Design of the model IPAs, development of the rubrics, and research on test feasibility, reliability, and validity were supported by U.S. Department of Education International Research and Studies Program Award #PO17A970028. The project involved hundreds of foreign language educators and language students across the country.
The IPA serves as a model in exemplifying not only how research and practice can be more closely aligned, but also how standards-based classroom instruction and assessment practices can meet to form a seamless connection. It holds much promise for the future as our profession continues to advance in standards-based instruction and assessment.
Language professionals who are interested in learning more about the IPA may purchase the ACTFL Integrated Performance Assessment Manual (see Publications in the Online Store). ACTFL also conducts IPA workshops through its Department of Professional Programs (see the Professional Development Programs Catalog).