We have the proficiency target and the “I can” goals. Now we will skip to the end of the unit and create the assessment, aka Backward design. It is so important to know where they need to go before creating lesson plans. I’ve found that it also helps me to eliminate “busy work” and the students trust that I’m preparing them for their assessment. They are more motivated to participate because it is useful, not because of a grade.


Greg Duncan and Thomas Sauer introduced me to performance assessments. Greg’s website explains it really well and has everything you will need. Give it a glance before more details.

Let’s think through an assessment for our “survival unit” about class.

What proficiency level are you targeting?

What are the learning targets and goals?

What skill and mode are you assessing?
I like to have a few options, but some unit lean more toward specific ones. I think this unit is screaming for a interpersonal speaking assessment. I got the following one from unit 4 from our district.


What is the scenario? What real life situation could apply?
I try to avoid the “you are living with a host family…” because it does not connect to them right now. So maybe the situation could be about being in the office and hearing a family struggling to understand what is needed for class. Or a new student in their English class with Ms. Rice that is having trouble with classroom procedures. Or they work at Office Depot on Outer Loop (or just looking around) and a customer needs help. These situations are possible and make them feel like they are helping too. When writing the scenario, keep it short. Add specific details to your community and a picture to give a personal touch.


What exactly are you looking for?
I am dealing with high schoolers and “clipboard learners” (tell me exactly what to do) so I like to rephrase it all to help them out. Sometimes I include graphic organizers and space to organizer their thoughts.


The next step will be creating lesson plans so we will go back to our original “idea” format. I hope the Proficiency Path is a little clearer for you now. We would love to have some feedback, thoughts, opinions, and questions if you have any to share!

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