This month I am celebrating my first year anniversary using Integrated Performance Assessments (IPA) in my classroom. This kind of assessment has simply transformed the way I teach. I just finished re-reading my posts about my first IPA and my second IPA. I cannot believe how much I have grown since then! My journey is far from over though, I was recently at an IPA workshop by Francis J. Troyan, co-author of the latest ACTFL “Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment” book and he very humbly said that fully implementing the IPA practice in your curriculum takes 5-10 years!
Four reasons Integrated Performance Assessments are so transforming:
1. IPAs are, in my opinion, the closest thing to real-life tasks: they expose students to cultural situations and ask them to reflect and problem solve.
2. IPAs focus on functional language and cultural understanding, not vocab and grammar. With IPAs you have to teach strategies in all three modes of communication. My 8th graders have become much stronger readers in one year, they read and comprehend authentic texts such as articles about the Sochi Olympics instead of vocabulary-controlled textbook texts.
3. IPAs do not just audit students’ performance, they IMPROVE students’ performance (Grant Wiggin (1998). Educative Assessment). I absolutely love the fact that while my students are being assessed with an IPA, they are still learning new words, new ideas, new cultural perspective, and new skills.
4. Because IPAs are criterion-referenced and not norm-referenced, your feed-back to students tremendously improves, which directly correlates to greater student achievement. Now I can tell a student: ” you meet expectations in identifying key words and you are approaching expectations in identifying the main ideas”, as opposed to “you got 80% on the reading”.
So, in order to celebrate my first year anniversary, here are all the IPAs I have administered in my classroom, I am improving them and adding new ones on a regular basis. Whether you are an IPA practitioner or a newbie, and no matter what language you teach, feel free to use and modify them for your needs:
Level 3 IPAs (Novice High -> Intermediate Low)
Level 1 IPAs (Novice Low-> Novice Mid)