Return to ACTFL guidelines

I spent about an hour last night looking at the new ACTFL proficiency page as I contemplated how to write rubrics for my kids that would measure where they were falling in speaking and writing.

In the middle of the night, I remembered that Nathan and I had collaborated on some documents, and I just now found them, in the December 21 and 22, 2010, posts here. The first does a quick overview of what the proficiency levels mean. I am pretty sure that the recent ACTFL changes don’t affect that overview, since we made it only up to Advanced Low.

The second document compares each level with how TPRS methods can help students reach to the next one.

It’s important to remember that students must be able to do what the document says in at least five different thematic areas; talking, reading, or writing, for instance, about families, school, daily routines, their town, and their hobbies. Up until Intermediate High, the topics are largely self-centered.

So now I want to go back to seeing whether I can create some rubrics with which I will be able to mark at which level they are operating. As we discussed earlier here, it’s likely they won’t be moving more than one level in a year, and it might take two years, so I don’t really want to have students stressing over whether they’re moving up levels on the rubric.

Hmm…maybe it’s better to go back to the ones I’ve created (and that show up here from other people) in the past. I think I put things like “speaking is at appropriate level for instruction.”

It was enlightening to go to “Categories” on the right sidebar and choose “Assessments.” We’ve shared enough different rubrics here that I shouldn’t need any more. On the other hand, I can get better and more streamlined. With up to four levels in one class period, I do need to be able to show the kids that I’m differentiating.


11 responses to “Return to ACTFL guidelines

  1. There’s an option; I’m sure you’ve seen this site before. (The document is under Rubric in red).
    Even though it offers all levels on one page at once, you can set a goal for each student based on the years of language and assess them accordingly.


  2. Oh my gosh! I am so glad I looked at this comment before the end of the day. I had just gone through all the ACTFL pages and was creating a rubric for each area, and Jefferson County has already done the work in a way that kids can understand. Thank you so much! This is a great rubric to use occasionally during the year!

    Martina had sent me this page, but I was so overwhelmed by the incredible organization that I couldn’t even look at it after I opened up one piece. Thanks for directing my attention!


    • It is precisely the student-friendly language that is priceless in this document. I want my students to be able to understand what is expected of them and that it is not the end but a step on a path to language acquisition.

      I really liked, and so did my freshmen, the activity from the Creative Language Class (that’s where I got it from but it is not the only source) that explains the level expectations to the kids in interactive way.


      • Wow! Both these sites are awesome. I hadn’t looked at the Creative Language Class in a while. Great teachers there! Thank you so much for adding that information; I really like the exercise that the kids do there. I think I might use it for part of this Friday.

        I did start once to tell kids that I’d like my first-year kids to be at least Novice-Mid in most areas by the end of the year, second-year to be at Novice High, and so on. But I ran into difficulty because it’s not a straight path, for one thing. It takes successively more time to get to each level. Ideally if kids have four years, they all should reach for at least Intermediate Mid, I think, but some won’t get there. And some will get to Intermediate High, but they’re rare. At least if we share the rubrics, they know what’s possible and how to keep moving on.


  3. Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you. We just had a district wide meeting on the need to focus on the essentials and the Spanish teacher and I in our school are starting the process of defining the essential outcomes and skills students need. This is exactly what I need.


  4. Pingback: Writing | mjTPRS

  5. Here’s one more I stumbled upon today.
    I still need to take a good look through all the levels, but it looks great so far. If you like using modes of communication as assessment categories versus skills, this one is for you.


    • Natalia, how do you do that??? Fabulous! I sent out Linguafolio’s “I can” statements (with some specifics on topics) from a couple of years ago to all our local teachers, but this one is much more user-friendly, and having it all in one piece is great. I might think about having a poster made up of this, and unless something amazing happens today in class (as I leave for Philadelphia), I will post it separately so as not to lose it. Thank you!


  6. I was on Twitter either looking for the resources posted by others or searching for pertinent authentic posts for reading. Somehow through a couple of sites I ended up on Linguafolio’s sign-in page ( where this document is available. Score!!!

    Have fun in Philadelphia and I can’t wait for reports from the trenches:)


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