Proficiency-Oriented Language
Instruction and Assessment:

A Curriculum Handbook for TeachersPOLIA Handbook

Diane J. Tedick, Editor

The Minnesota Articulation Project

This handbook for teachers was designed to provide world language teachers with the background knowledge, ideas, and resources for implementing proficiency-oriented language instruction and classroom-based performance measures into their curriculum. Tied to the national Standards for Foreign Language Education, the Handbook gives teachers a solid foundation of the principles and practices that are central to standards-based and proficiency-oriented language instruction and assessment. The Handbook provides teachers with a wide variety of tasks and activities to use in the classroom along with ideas for adapting these activities for different levels and languages and longer curricular packages. The Handbook was originally created by members of the Minnesota Articulation Project. Originally published through the CARLA working paper series, the Handbook is now available online.

The Goals and Organization of the Handbook


The fundamental goal of the Handbook is to provide teachers with reasons, ideas, and resources for rethinking curriculum and instruction with an eye toward enhancing students’ language proficiency levels. It is not intended to be a mandate for curriculum development nor is it intended to act as a language textbook. It was developed with the goal of providing a framework for teachers as they consider different ways of planning curriculum and instruction to correspond to a standards-based model and may be a valuable resource in classes for preservice and inservice teacher development. We believed that such a goal would best be accomplished by:

  • describing the directions in which the field is headed (as reflected in the national and state standards);
  • explaining some of the theory--what we know and believe about language learning and teaching;
  • describing ways to assess language proficiency through performance-based measures;
  • providing teachers with a plethora of ideas that illustrate the connection between theory and practice; and
  • providing teachers with an extensive list of resources to enhance their curriculum and instruction.

Organization of the Handbook

The Handbook is divided into the following sections:

  • About the Minnesota Articulation Project: Background and Introduction to the Handbook
  • Proficiency Oriented Language Instruction and Assessment: Standards, Philosophies, and Considerations for Assessment
    • This section describes the key factors underlying our primary goal--proficiency-oriented language instruction and assessment (POLIA). It explains the state and national movements toward standards-based language instruction, offers an in-depth account of the philosophical principles that guided the development of the Handbook and provides a detailed explanation of performance assessment that is congruent with a standards-based approach to proficiency-oriented language instruction.
  • Key Materials
    • This section includes copies of or links to important documents that support the material in the Handbook.
  • Tasks and Units
    • This section includes a wide range of classroom tasks and thematic units to support proficiency-oriented language instruction and assessment. Each task and unit appears in a standard format or template that stipulates the corresponding theme, standards, level, purpose, functions, language structures, cultural aspects, and modalities. In an effort to encourage participation from teachers across the state, we invited second language teachers to submit tasks and ideas to be considered for the Handbook. As ideas were submitted, they were considered, reworked, refined, and revised by the curriculum team to correspond to the format that we had devised. Thus, their current form represents the creative ideas and talents of many individuals.
  • Teacher Resources

The materials included on this website were created by members of the Minnesota Articulation Project and were edited by Diane J. Tedick.

They were originally published in Tedick, D.J. (Ed.). (2002). Proficiency-oriented language instruction and assessment: A curriculum handbook for teachers. CARLA Working Paper Series. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition

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