3 Steps to Create an Interpretive Final Assessment

Posted by Kara Parker on May 18, 2015 in 4 Assessments, Last Days

We have 3 steps for how to make an Interpretive Assessment that is proficiency-based. Note: We think listening is equally important, but for the sake of a how to, a written example is much easier to explain. Let’s see those 3 steps!


Before starting, gather information that will help you to determine the proficiency level of the assessment.

Review the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.

ACTFL Reading Novice


What can a Novice understand? What about an Intermediate? Where are your students?

ACTFL Interpretive Reading


Find a proficiency-based rubric to quickly and fairly assess them. Use this as a reminder while making the assessment.


JCPS Rubric, 2014

Keep a list of topics and/or vocabulary close by to reference. If they haven’t seen it before, then it should not be assessed.

Level 1 Topics


This takes the most time. Find an AuthRes that is one sub-level higher than the goal. This allows them the opportunity to exceed expectations. Also think about these questions while choosing…

– Age appropriate?

– Current? Try to stick to the last 4 years or so.

– Appropriate for proficiency level? Look back at those ACTFL guidelines!

– Familiar topics and vocabulary? Check your list!

Let’s look at an English example so everyone can follow along. Good news! This Enfocamp.com website has several languages available. It has lots of information like brochures, charts, tables, lists and videos supported with visuals that align with my topics and is written in a simplified format which is great for Novice students. The last screenshot would be better for students entering Intermediate.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 12.01.49 PM

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 12.04.13 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 12.03.52 PM

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 12.14.35 PM


Based on my training and class experiences, I prefer to write the questions in English so it shows what they truly understand. When the questions are in the target language, it changes the assessment to a kind of interpersonal (they have to understand in order to answer). I would love to learn more about other options, so please share if you have some.

Include a variety of questions that check for comprehension. You can use multiple choice or open-ended. Here are some examples…

– What event is this website advertising? (main idea)

– Who/Where/When is the event? (detail)

– What day is salad not served for dinner? (combination of details, 2 words needed to answer: salad and Tuesday)

– What activity is after breakfast and before lunch? (combination of details: 3 words needed: breakfast, lunch, and the answer)

– Who would most likely attend the event? (inference) Answer could include options like: someone who is interested in sports/fashion/games/cooking. These questions are great, because they don’t have to know one specific word to answer it. They can use several context words to get to the correct answer.

– Is the review positive, negative or undecided? (inference)

– Where does the camp take place? What are some clues that support your answer. (cultural reference)

– Look at the schedule of events. What cultural influences do you notice? (cultural reference)

DOUBLE CHECK the questions to your expectations. Are the topics/vocabulary familiar to them? Look at the answers to the questions to check this.

REPEAT the steps until you have covered most of the topics. If you want to make this into a the first part of an IPA (Integrated Performance Assessment), add a scenario and make the questions more personalized so they can be discussed later.

After you have an interpretive assessment, the next big question is HOW to GRADE it! At my previous district, the assessment was multiple choice and there was a range to assign the level. Ex: 20-18 correct = exceeding expectations, 17-14 = meeting expectations, 13-9 = approaching expectations. For this to be accurate, there need to be some questions that let students show they are exceeding the expectations, so at a higher proficiency level. Another way that I’ve done is to have open-ended questions. Then I use the rubric to mark where they are answering. Wherever the majority of the marks are, that is their level. Again this is another area that I would like to learn more about.

Do you have other questions about how to create an Interpretive Assessment? Write them below!

Featured Photo from http://www.ymcatwincities.org

9 comments for “3 Steps to Create an Interpretive Final Assessment”

  1. Janet says:

    Hello Kara. Can you share a link to the rubric you post here? I’ve not found a similar one on the JCPS site. It is wonderful and I would like to adapt it. Love your Blog! Lot of great info and resources.

    1. Kara Parker says:

      Thanks Janet! Let me see if JCPS has a link to share that.

  2. Laura Catherine says:

    Hola Kara! Gracias for such an easy-to-follow plan for creating an interpretive final assessment and for such a great resource. I want to go to the camp after browsing the website! I, too, would love a copy of the interpretive rubric if it’s available. I understand that it may not be. Gracias!

  3. Veronica Cross (@profeargentina) says:

    Hi Kara,
    I understand the questions are in English. Do they student answer in the TL or English?

    1. Kara Parker says:

      Hey Veronica! Answers are in English too to show they know that word as well. Example: If the questions is “What does she like to do on Friday?” and the student wrote “bailar” (in TL), then it’s possible he/she doesn’t know what “bailar” means. I also think it’s less confusing to answer in the language of the question.

  4. Madeleine says:

    What a wonderful post. Thank you! I too am looking for this interpretive assessment rubric. Any ideas on where to find it? Thank you!!

  5. Kara Parker says:

    The rubric is a brand new one at JCPS. They are working on getting it up to share. It may take the summer, but we will link to it when available.

  6. The post on this website with generic forms to use with authentic texts is brilliant! That got me to thinking why not a generic interpretive guide template to use with IPA’s. So I modified one I found on-line from the Madame’s Musings website… and voilà. Find it here at http://www.lynnjohnston.com/?p=90. Also this website had great IPA’s in french http://madameshepard.com/?s=ipa.

    1. Kara Parker says:

      Thanks for sharing Lynn!

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