Create a Standards-Based Integrated Performance Assessment Unit Step-by-Step

Step 9: Determine Key Learning Activities/Formative Assessments

Step 7 is final step in designing a standards-based integrated performance assessment unit. With a clear “destination” (the instructional goals and performance assessments) in place, you can now plan the “route” you will take to arrive at your destination. How will your students learn the structures and vocabulary for the unit? How will they learn the content? It is time to plan your daily lessons, always keeping in mind the final destination.

UNESCO Infographic
Click to open larger
(Graphic from UNESCO website)

Finding appropriate resources, especially for the Interpretive Mode, is perhaps the greatest challenge in designing a standards-based integrated performance assessment unit. You need to look for resources throughout the process of designing the unit. You may be able to use your textbook as a resource if it includes authentic texts related to your unit theme. As students become accustomed to the standards-based unit design, they may be able to look for authentic texts on-line if you give them a specific topic and type of text. Remember that a text can be used at multiple levels of instruction. Remember it is not the text but the task that needs to be modified depending on the language level of the students. As you find resources, make a note in the "Resources" box on the template indicating where you stored the resource so that you can find it easily when you teach the unit again. This is also helpful to colleagues when you share the unit. The "Digital Literacy Integration" box on the template is a place to reflect on how technology can be used to enhance the learning in the unit.

Questions for Thought Icon
Before watching the video

Look at the infographic to the right and create a task for a novice learner of English and one for an intermediate learner of English.

Novice task:
What do you think is the main topic of this infograph? What countries are listed in the infograph? Where are these countries located? Why is Japan the only country listed on the bus at the bottom of the infograph? What other information is in the infograph?

Intermediate task:
Why is Grade 4 mentioned in the infograph? Why is this important?

Play Video Icon
As you watch the video

In this video segment, the teachers discuss how they select activities and monitor their students’ progress throughout the unit via formative assessments. Formative assessment as defined by FAST SCASS, a consortium of the Council of Chief State School officers (CCSSO) is:

a process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students' achievement of intended instructional outcomes.

As quoted in Popham, W. J. (2008). Transformative Assessment. ASCD. Available online.

As you watch the video, note the ideas that the teachers share about selecting activities for their lesson plans and the role of formative assessments.


How teachers select activities:
The teachers described how they planned for the integration of the three modes of communication within daily and weekly lesson planning to add variety to the lessons thus increasing motivation among the students. They referenced the final performance tasks frequently so that the students could practice the skills needed for the final tasks frequently to gain confidence and expertise. It is important to note that the activities practiced in class are not identical to the final performance assessments. Rather, they require the same skills but the practice activities are different from the final tasks.

Role of formative assessments:
The teachers talked about the daily monitoring of student progress through formative assessments. Dayna emphasized that teachers have to be flexible in order to adjust their instruction based on feedback from formative assessments.

Type Your Response icon
After watching the video

Refer back to the definition of formative assessments. What are some ways that you check to see if your students understand the content and use the language successfully?

Sample Formative Assessments:

  • Observation: monitoring students as they work individually, in pairs or groups
  • Ticket out: students answer a question, give an example of a structure practiced in class, use a vocab word in a sentence
  • Dialogue journal: students write about a topic presented in class
  • Graphic organizer: students complete a graphic organizer to connect related ideas
  • Peer check-in: students ask each other to explain the new concept or use the new vocabulary



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