Our Transition to Proficiency

Here are the main posts we have written about our steps toward a communicative and proficiency-based class. Enjoy the journey!

Very First Steps






Planning & Unit Set Up

Updating the Curriculum

Unit Planning and Tough Questions

Birthdays Unit

Music Unit

Street Art Unit

Why I Still Love Stamp Sheets

5 things to consider when writing a CAN-DO statement

Real World Homework



Making Interpretive Tasks More Authentic

Comprehensible input is the key!

Grammar in context

More grammar in context

Let AuthRes Take the Lead

Stations & Centers

Adaptable Activities

Assessing & Grades

Explaining Proficiency to Students

How many grades?

Assigning a Grade to a Proficiency Rubric

3 Steps to Create an Interpretive Final Assessment

4 Steps for Smooth Interpersonal Assessments

3 Steps for Creating an Engaging Presentational Assessment

Integrated Performance Assessments

Grading: it’s only a matter of time


  1. Kara

    Oh! The problem is that is haven’t moved the posts here yet. Go to the search or posts from June. Sorry!

    • LuAnn Brandt

      Muchisimas gracias!

  2. Esther Vieira

    Thank you very much. Your website is fabulous, helpful and down-to-earth. I will start in a new district in another state and as I have been trying the path of I can do statements I will use most of your suggestions to help me find my own way to have my students engaged and learning.This time I will be teaching 1st and 2nd year Spanish ( in the past I taught 3 and 4 levels) and I am excited to see if using the statements along with the students will help me to be more focus on my expectations.
    I do appreciate your time doing all this work and I am sure your students just love you!!!!!

  3. Kara Parker

    Hi Ester! We are so glad it’s helpful! Sounds like you are heading on a GREAT new adventure. The “can do” statements will really help you with the lower levels. They need very specific, simple goals. Now we are finding that adding a cultural focus that follows up with a personalized helps with the engagement. Example: Original can do: I can say my name. Additional Cultural can do: I can tell the name of the top Hispanic athletes. (You can make this more specific (soccer athletes, X game athletes) or change to another topic your students (and you) are into (Mexican actors, Caribbean musicians). This gives you an immense collection of authentic resources to get input from to practice saying names before they do their own. Plus they are learning so much about the world around them.
    And about the students loving me, I relate to this quote: “I am not pizza. I cannot please everyone.” 🙂 Have a great year!

    • Esther Vieira

      Thank you very much. It is a very cool idea to connect and broad the can-do statement. I am going to use for sure

  4. Melissa Kruszynski

    My Spanish PLC is really considering changing to Proficiency Based Grading this school year but I have a couple questions. Do you use the Proficiency Rubric for all assignments or are the variations/different rubrics for specific types of activities such as writing or speaking. Also – you mention giving them a pre-assessment to see where they are. We teach in NYS, and with SLOs and the teacher evaluation system here we have to give a multiple choice type pre-assessment for comparative data at the end of the year. I am not sure this pre-assessment will really help us figure out where students are on the Proficiency Rubric. What do you use? Your blog is amazing! Thank you for all the great ideas!

  5. Kara Parker

    Hi Melissa! That’s an exciting switch! Here are some answers:
    – I use the Prof Rubric for everything (Speaking & Writing, Presentational & Interpersonal). If I can’t use it, then I really question whether or not the assignment promotes communication. I let interpretive reading/listening lead to some kind of production so I don’t grade it specifically. I need to blog about that concept soon with some examples.
    – I usually give a performance assessment as pre-assessments too, so it would not be multiple choice (MC). It still gives me comparative data (did they grow based on the proficiency rubric). Are you sure it has to be multiple choice? This is my own soapbox, but I think those types of assessments limit students and measure perfection. Also it is SO difficult to write/create a fair MC assessment. Now, I have used reading assessments that check comprehension. If I HAD to do MC, this is what I would do. Although it’s only measuring interpretive skills, where I believe production is the ultimate goal.
    I would really push for being able to use the rubric as the tool to measure progress. Like I said, it creates data that means something and is comparative! We had a teacher evaluation system in KY too, and this was acceptable.
    Megan and I do school-based workshops that help teachers transition to proficiency and figure out how to make it all work. If you are interested, email us. creativelanguageclass@gmail.com
    Best of luck!



  1. New [School] Year Resolution #1: Grading | señorita barragán - [...] limited, so to find these documents was just a dream. What a way, along with Kara’s posts on steps…

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