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

Examples of Teacher-Developed Standards-Based Integrated Performance Assessments (IPA)


Integrated Performance Assessment is a classroom-based performance assessment model developed by ACTFL that can be used for evaluating student's communication skills in the three modes of communication (Interpretive, Presentational, Interpersonal) identified in the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages (2015). The World-Readiness Standards incorporate the Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century (1996), and Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (2006).


Using a Backward Design approach, these IPA units begin with Goals of Instruction for the unit, and the final Performance Assessment. The unit template then shows how the 5 Cs of the Standards are integrated. The language functions, priority vocabulary, and sample learning activities students need to practice are also included.


The example IPA units in the grid below are available for use in your classroom.

  • Click on a title to see a description of the unit.
  • Right-click on the PDF link, then "save as..." to download the lesson.

Note! These units can be adapted for other languages and levels.

Unit Titles PDF Level Targeted Proficiency
(if noted)
Visiting Lebanon PDF Grade 5 -
Elementary School
Created as part of the ACES grant-funded program led by the Minneapolis Public Schools, this unit asks students to consider Lebanon as a place to visit and what they would need to know before going to visit. After gathering information, students create a brochure about a city in Lebanon and interview each other about places and activities in Lebanon.
Visiting and Hospitality PDF Level 1 -
Middle School
The practice of hospitality toward guests and visitors is an important value and cultural perspective in the Arab cultures. Created as part of the ACES grant-funded program led by the Minneapolis Public Schools, this unit explores behaviors as a guest or with family members, and how what we do with our time when visiting others tells us about our culture.
What Makes Basketball Important? PDF Level 1 -
Middle School
This assessment follows a unit on sports. Students will have talked about practicing, sportsmanship, and doing one's best. Basketball is a popular sport in Arabic speaking countries and students are interested in the players and all related materials and information about teams. Many students play basketball as a free time activity. Students are beginning level; some may hear Arabic at home.
Friday Market Souk el Jeemaa PDF Level 1 -
High School
"Food, Marketplace, and Shopping — Arab Style" is a mid-year unit for level one. The units' purpose is to provide meaningful, culturally appropriate setting to express likes and dislikes, ask and answer simple questions, describe food items, talk about buying and selling food in a marketplace, and recognize cultural differences about food and how marketplaces operate.

Students have learned the Arabic alphabet and are begining to develop their reading and writing skills by writing words or noting new vocabulary using Roman letters for convenience. In this unit, they are branching out into the "world."
Welcome to the Arab World PDF Level 1 -
High school
"Ahlan Wahsahlan" is for beginning level students learning the Arabic alphabet and developing reading and writing skills. Students greet others, introduce themselves, ask and answer simple questions give about personal information, some numbers, and use familiar and learned vocabulary in a meaningful, culturally appropriate way and learn about the Arab world and what it encompasses.
Do Greetings Reflect Culture? PDF Level 1 -
High School
How do we present and introduce ourselves and others? Are we culturally shaped and what do introductions tell us about a culture? This unit occurs early in the year and was developed for a beginning Arabic high school class but can be adapted for other age groups and languages.
It's the Weekend: What Does It Mean? PDF Level 1 -
High school
This unit designed for the end of a first year high school class explores the idea of weekend and the meaning it holds for other cultures. Where and how do young people spend their time and what kind of activities do they like to do. Are there any similarities?
Beijing Opera and Shadow Puppets PDF Grade 5 -
Elementary School
Created as part of the ACES grant-funded program led by the Minneapolis Public Schools, this unit questions how we express ourselves and why people act. Students describe Bejing opera masks and present a shadow puppet skit.
What is a Family?  (elders) PDF Middle School Novice
This unit emphasizes the extended family and respect for the elderly in Chinese culture. Learners will make short presentations about their families using technology.
What is a Family?  (around the world) PDF Middle School Novice
Learners create visual representations of their families, write descriptions of their families and then present them to a group of classmates. This unit includes sample activities for the beginning, middle, and end of the unit. Rubrics are also included for the final assessment tasks.
Dream House PDF Level 3 -
Middle School
Created as part of the ACES grant-funded program led by the Minneapolis Public Schools, this unit guides students to explore how architecture reflects the culture in which it is designed by reading descriptions of houses in China, presenting information about a house that incorporates the concept of Fengshui, and describing floor plans.
What Makes a Good Teacher? PDF Level 2 -
High School
This unit explores the characteristics of a good teacher. Students explore Confucius as a teacher and make comparisons to their ideas as a good teacher. By viewing an authentic Chinese movie, students have an opportunity to consider the social status of teachers in China and in the U.S.
My First Chinese Banquet PDF Level 2 -
High School
Created as part of the ACES grant-funded program led by the Minneapolis Public Schools, this unit explores how sharing food can build community, define celebrations and traditions, and takes a look at recipes, menus, and going to restaurants.
Why Are There Different Ways to Address People in Our Family? PDF Level 2 -
High School
Novice High
This unit focuses on how ritual influences family relationships in Chinese culture. Learners identify family hierarchy in Chinese culture, interpret the meanings of sayings related to family life. After creating family trees, learners share their family trees with classmates and compare them to examples from Chinese families.
Exploring Different Views of Romantic Relationships PDF Level 3 -
High School
This unit asks students to explore the different views of personal relationships from the Chinese perspective. They will conduct a survey to gather opinions about choosing a boyfriend and girlfriend from various age and gender groups. Students view a short video about a questionnaire related to the question "In a relationship, who would you be happier with, someone you love more, or someone who loves you more?"
What Makes My Number One Top Hit So Cool? PDF Level 3 -
High School
Chinese pop songs, like other music, generate different emotions and feelings that people can relate to while listening. People can connect these emotions to their own feelings and possibly improve their emotional or mental health. Understanding the content of Chinese pop songs helps deepen knowledge and understanding of Chinese culture and customs on many different levels.
What Does My Name Really Mean? PDF Level 3 -
High School
This performance assessment was developed for a Chinese level 3 class. The tasks of this unit are intended to expand and deepen students' understanding of the cultural beliefs attached to Chinese names and give them an opportunity to compare & contrast Chinese culture with their own by researching authentic web sites about names and naming traditions.
How Does Food Reflect Culture? PDF Level 3 -
High School
Novice High
This unit focuses on the importance of mealtime and healthy eating in the Chinese culture. The final assessment for the unit integrates all three modes into a scenario where the learner becomes the executive chef at the White House and must prepare a menu for Chinese leaders.
How Can We Create a Caring and Supportive Community? PDF Level 3 -
High School
Novice High
Learners read the story, The Magic Flower with Seven Colors, and explain how the characters are connected to each other and dependent on each other. They will compare the Chinese perspective on an individual's relationship to his/her community to the US perspective. Ultimately the learners will write and present an original play illustrating the concept of a supportive community. Rubrics for the project are included.
Which Doctor Do I See When I Am Sick: Western or Chinese? PDF Level 3 -
High School
Novice High to Int. Low
In this unit learners will compare traditional Chinese medicine practices to Western medicine practices. Learners will role play a conversation describing different ailments and suggestions for treatment based on Western and Chinese practices. They will write an essay comparing Chinese to Western medicine practices.
Why Do Chinese People Value Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? PDF Levels 3-4 -
High School
Intermediate Low
Learners watch a video about a famous TCM doctor in China and read a story about a boy who recovers from a long illness by using TCM. They will then write an opinion paper about TCM, explaining why they do or do not believe in TCM. The final interpersonal task is a mock debate where pairs of learners defend TCM or Western medicine. They must listen to the opinions of others and challenge those opinions. A suggested rubric for the presentational task is included.
Why Are Powwows Cool? PDF Level 1 -
Elementary School
This unit, developed for the end of the first year K-2 beginning Dakota/Lakota class in the American-Indian Magnet School in St. Paul, explores various aspects of powwows. Students explore the different appearances of dancers from different geographical locations and the roles different community members have in a powwow. Students learn the traditions and values of powwows and their relevance to the present.
Why Do We Value Places? PDF Level 1 -
Elementary School
This unit, developed for the end of the first year 3-5 beginning Dakota/Lakota class in the American-Indian Magnet School in St. Paul, explores the concept of being related to nature and places we value. Students learn about animals and their habitat and explore how our environment is interrelated.
What Is My Place in My Family? PDF Level 1-
Middle School
This unit developed as the middle of the year assessment for students in a grades 7-8 first year Dakota program. Students explore family and relationship structures, information from important people and learn to present themselves to a group. Students compare and explore the concept of family in Dakota and in English or the culture of the other students in the class. They explore how all family structures and relationships are both similar and different.
What Am I Doing for My Health? PDF Level 1 -
High School
This unit, developed for the end of high school level one, explores healthy habits and what students do and don't do to practice healthy habits. Students compare traditional Dakota diets and the diets of most contemporary families as well as what encompasses the Dakota and American ideas of wellness.
Wakan: In What Ways Do Dakota and Other Cultures View Supernatural Creatures? PDF Level 3 -
This unit focuses on the Dakota concept of "Wakan" which has many different meanings and is used in a wide variety of Dakota words but its core meanings have always been "holy, sacred, mysterious, something that has the ability to give or take life." It is part of a larger unit based on "W—yakapi WaŒ DŽed Oyakapi" (Traditional Da¦ota storytelling).
What Makes My Family Special? PDF Level 1 -
This unit, developed for beginning language classes, uses a book as the focus for describing characteristics and comparing families. It helps students to understand that families are made of different people and are very different from one person to the next.
What Do You Do in School? PDF Level 1 -
Learners follow teacher's directions to complete activities in class including the daily calendar. They look at images to compare what they do each day in school to what children around the world do.
Do Animals Have Rights? PDF Middle School Intermediate Mid
Learners will discuss whether or not animals should have rights, and if those rights should be protected. They will summarize major events and accomplishments in Jane Goodall's life. They will write about animal rights using persuasive language.
Wonders of Nature PDF Level 2 -
Elementary School
What makes a natural place worthy of saving or recognition? This unit, designed for 5th grade ESL student can easily be adapted to include landmarks or other significant places in a FL classroom. Students use persuasive speech to present a natural place to peers and apply an understanding of how people in North America sell products.
Could You Live On Another Planet? PDF Level 3 -
Elementary School
This unit, developed to meet a science standard on planets for elementary students also helps students learn that people in all cultures have seen, read, or heard stories about the planets and that knowledge about planets is shared by all cultures.
National Parks: What Do They Reveal About the U.S.? PDF Level 1 -
Middle School
The goal of this unit developed for an IB middle years programme candidate school with pull-out ESL instruction, is to help students understand the connection between national parks, their location, features, accommodations and US cultural ideals and conservation.
Can Marketing Be Generic? PDF Advanced -
This unit developed for a marketing class focuses on culture as the median for marketing messages and the importance of the appropriate language and content in selling a product.
Does Everything Have a Shape? PDF Kindergarten Novice
Learners recognize and name different shapes that they see in the p classroom and community, and in art. They use their creativity to create a building of different shapes and describe the building to others. Rubrics for the performance tasks are included.
What Makes a Good Travel Destination? PDF Level 2 -
Middle School
In this unit, students will learn to describe elements of an 'ideal' travel destination or experience, including the setting and activities, with a focus on what we can learn about the culture of a country or region through the sights and activities we experience as travelers.
What Do I Need For School? PDF Middle School Novice
Learners visit websites for school supply stores showing a variety of supplies. They create advertisements for supplies they consider essential for school.
Black, Blanc, Beur: How Does France Experience its Racial Diversity? PDF Level 4 -
High School
This unit was developed for the beginning of the second semester of a level four French class. Students research issues of racial diversity, racism, and discrimination that connect to history, geography and culture as well as issues of civil rights and the separation of church and state in France. Students compare these issues with similar issues in the US and use their previous knowledge of such issues as well to develop a better understanding of them.
French Fairy Tales and Conventional Wisdom PDF Level 4 -
High School
This unit, designed to be used as a unit-ending summative assessment, uses conventional wisdom as its central theme. Students will be responsible for understanding and interpreting an authentic French fairy tale and write one of their own. A larger inquiry into the nature of conventional wisdom frames this work.
Do Clothes Tell a Story? PDF Level 2 -
High School
In this unit students explore some of the preconceptions we may form about people based on the way they dress and their reactions to the way young people dress in the country of the language they are learning. Students consider the role of traditional clothing seen in tourist ads for various regions and the historical relationship of the status clothing.
Objectivity in Journalism PDF Level 4 -
High School
This unit, developed for an intermediate level German class, focuses on text organization and objectivity in journalism. Students work with several original newspaper reports, to discuss them with a colleague and write their own objective report.
Cinema and Society PDF Level 4 -
High School
This unit, developed for the end of a fourth semester university class, explores the role of cinema in society; in particular, how comedy serves as a reflection of society in film and how film in turn influences society.
Why Did the Romans Do Poetry? PDF Level 3 -
High School
This unit explores the role of poetry in Roman society and how Romans did poetry. Students demonstrate understanding of 'Pyramus and Thisbe' and create an electronic comic with their interpretation and discuss using a Cyberdiaria.
My Family — Niij-aya'aag PDF Level 1 - Immersion Kindergarten  
The "My Family — Niij-aya'aag" unit of study will take place in the middle of the fall semester (early November) of the kindergarten year in an Ojibwe language immersion classroom. This is a short unit on 'My Family' or 'My Relatives' as it is framed in Ojibwe. Students are characteristically at the novice level on the ACTFL proficiency guidelines for speaking. Children will have just completed a thematic "All About Me" unit. The present unit is a natural thematic extension to include those family members closest to them in the home setting. Children will have developed a basic understanding of the sound of the language and will be familiar with basic 'yes/no' question/ answers, simple questions using words such as 'where' or 'who', simple nouns, and animate intransitive verbs in present-tense singular and second person forms. grate the names and roles for family members they have learned.
Why is Harvesting Wild Rice Still Important? PDF Level 1 -
High School,  Middle School
This unit, developed for the Ojibwe Language Program through American Indian Studies at Saint Paul Public Schools, introduces students to the traditional activities of the Ojibwe people during the late summer/early fall months. Students explore traditional teachings and the cultural importance they still hold today. Students communicate about aspects of wild rice harvesting using simple expressions and phrases and compare commercial and traditional methods.
How Do the Ojibwe People Continue Their Seasonal Traditions? PDF Level 1 -
High School,  Middle School
This unit, developed for the Ojibwe Language Program through American Indian Studies at Saint Paul Public Schools, introduces students to the traditional activities of Ojibwe people during the late winter/early spring months and explores traditional teachings and the cultural importance of the teachings as they relate to present society. Students explore the values associated with traditional maple sugaring and commercially produced maple syrup and sharing within the community.
What Is a Healthy Breakfast? PDF Elementary School Novice
Learners compare what they eat for breakfast to what children their age in Chile eat for breakfast. They make visuals comparing their breakfast to breakfast in Chile.
What Are the Treasures of the Amazon Rainforest? What Can the Earth Offer Us That We Cannot Make? PDF Middle School Intermediate
Students will understand that the Amazon rainforest plays an integral part of the lifestyle and traditions of the people of Colombia and Ecuador. In class students will simulate a real market.
What Role Does Food Play in Your Culture? PDF Middle School Novice
This unit introduces learners to typical meals of Mexico. They will keep track of a week of food they eat, and compare those meals to a family's week of food pictured in a photo of a week of groceries for a family in Mexico.
What Makes a Hero? PDF Level 3 -
High School
This unit uses literature to explore students' ideas of the qualities that a hero should have and to consider and contrast the idea of heroism in Medieval Spain to ideas of heroism in contemporary United States.
Spanish Conquest of the Aztecs PDF Level 3 -
High School
This unit attempts to introduce an example of a European conquest that had a cataclysmic effect on the shape of Latin America. Students read and interpret some of the Aztec codices and use their own words to recount the events and create a book they will share with other students.
Understanding the Immigration Stories of Spanish-Speaking Americans PDF Level 4 -
High School
This unit was developed to explore students' understanding of reasons people emigrate, the challenges people face when they emigrate, and examine their own beliefs about immigration by asking, "What makes us Americans? What makes people from all over the world want to become US citizens?"
Green Campus PDF Level 2 -
This unit explores renewable energy and energy self-sufficiency. Students explore their energy use and compare green efforts made locally to similar efforts in the Spanish-speaking world, particularly.

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