Virtual Assessment Center


The Virtual Assessment Center (VAC) is a series of web-based learning modules that provides teachers with background information, step-by-step guidance, and many practical resources on developing proficiency-based second language assessments for the classroom.

Included within the module, “Creating an Assessment Unit” are video recordings of teachers discussing each step of the assessment process, and explaining how the assessments influenced teaching and learning in their classrooms.

Why Assess?

Making informed decisions about learner's progress requires language teachers to gather and interpret information that shows what learners "know and can do." This section presents different purposes for assessment and how assessment can inform instruction.

What am I

Deciding what you want your students to know and do is an essential step in aligning language assessment to standards and instruction. This section shows you how to design standards-based performance assessments that integrate the 3 modes of Communication and Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, Communities.

The Modes of

The World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages (2013) define Communication in terms of three modes: Interpersonal, Interpretive, and Presentational. The characteristics of each mode inform both instruction and assessment practices.

Creating a
Standards-Based Performance
Assessment Unit

Effective assessment supports learning and teaching, rather than simply reporting that learning did or did not occur. This section takes you through a step-by-step process of creating a standards-based performance assessment unit of instruction. Videoclips capture teachers discussing their experiences designing and teaching performance assessment units. See examples of performance assessment units.

Continuous Improvement

Providing learners with ongoing specific feedback shows them where and how they can improve their knowledge and communication skills. Developing formative assessments and effective and efficient rubrics, checklists, and scales are essential for continuous improvement of learning and instruction.

& Theory

This section provides you with information on theory and research related to types of language assessments, considerations in test construction, and test-taking strategies.


This section provides you with links to searchable, annotated bibliographies on assessment, National Standards, content-based instruction; assessment design resources for teachers; Foreign Language Assessment Directory; sample lesson plans; rubric design and sample rubrics; online tools to create activities, quizzes, games; assessment organizations; listservs.


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Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414