The interpersonal assessment is a challenging and time consuming task, but it’s really important.
Being able to have a conversation is a major reason students take a language class. Give them a chance to show their growth!

Here’s a good description from ACTFL of what we try to do during an interpersonal assessment.


ACTFL’s OPI Manual from

4 step to make the Interpersonal Assessment go smoothly in your classroom:

1.) Use sign-up sheets to organize! I ask for volunteers for the first days and then let students sign up for the day they prefer. It goes so much smoother when they know exactly when it’s their turn. I remind students to be ready “on deck” (waiting by the door) before it’s their turn.


2.) Set up a quiet spot where you and the student can talk uninterrupted.


I set up a small table and two chairs in the hall outside my classroom. I also try to record our conversations with an iPad just in case I need to review a grade. Students know the procedure and they know not to interrupt  anyone’s assessment unless there is a major emergency. If you feel you need to keep a closer eye on the class, see if you can find coverage. It’s worth it to not be distracted while you’re in the zone!

Since this happens to be the end of the year, the students who aren’t testing that day have a little freedom. Students can practice for their interpersonal assessment, finish missing/make-up work, or sometimes I show a movie.

3.) Set a time limit (I plan for 5 minutes each) and take them through phases listed below.


Examples of those easy warm-up questions:

Hi! How are you? How old are you? Are you ready for our conversation?

Level check examples:  (Hint: These are usually open-ended questions.) 

What are your favorite activities? Why? What do you like to do with your family? Describe your family. Tell me about your favorite meal.

These are level checks because their response will show you right away whether they are a novice or intermediate. You can use follow up questions to be sure.

Challenge them with a probe. 

Intermediate probes: Tell me about your favorite memory of summer from when you were a kid. What would a perfect day be like for you? What did you do to celebrate your last birthday? Intermediate Mid probes: What would you do differently? How would you change…

Finally, end when you’re back in comfort zone. 

Do you have any questions? This was very interesting. Thanks for talking to me! Bye!

4.) Rate each response with a check mark on the rubric.


This is a little trick I learned from Kara. During your conversation, rate each of their different responses with a little check. Later you can see how many questions they answered and where they were able to consistently respond. (Remember: if you ask a novice question – you’ll get a novice answer. Make sure you’re questions allow them to expand and show their skills!) Plus, if you have the rubrics ready you will get the grading done as you go!

Hope this helps if you getting ready to try an INTERPERSONAL assessment for the first time! Good luck!