Teaching for Proficiency in Dual Language Immersion

July 18–20, 2023
Synchronous* 3-day online summer institute

This summer Institute is
cosponsored by the Second Language Teaching and Research Center (L2TReC)

This popular summer institute, designed especially for K-12 Dual Language Immersion (DLI) practitioners, will introduce participants to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, which have served as a framework for language assessment and instruction across levels since their initial publication in 1982. Participants will examine how the proficiency levels and sublevels have been defined and, also, how they have evolved over time from focusing on oral language assessment to include all modes of communication. The presenters will also share research on assessing performance toward proficiency of DLI students.

With an understanding of the proficiency framework, participants will apply the guidelines as an organizing principle to DLI classrooms, syllabi, and lesson planning, with the goal of developing lessons, learning tasks, and classroom-based, formative assessments that are consistent with a proficiency-based approach in a dual language immersion context.

After this institute, you will be able to:

  • Recognize the main characteristics of proficiency levels as defined by the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines;

  • Establish realistic proficiency targets using the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines;

  • Develop a formative assessment to gather evidence for oral or written proficiency;

  • Compile a list of effective classroom strategies that can be used to increase student proficiency in speaking and writing; and

  • Design a lesson plan that incorporates proficiency-based content and language objectives.
Program Schedule (9am-4pm)
Tuesday The Proficiency Framework: Theory and Research
  • An Introduction to Proficiency and the ACTFL Scale
  • Defining Proficiency and Performance
  • Assessing Proficiency Using Research
Wednesday Teaching for Proficiency
  • Teaching Students How to Become Expert Learners
  • Designing Lessons Based on Proficiency
  • Creating Assessments and Gathering Evidence
Thursday Classroom Strategies to Improve Proficiency
  • Strategies for Oral Language Production
  • Strategies for Written Language Production


Kerrie Neu
Kerrie Neu


Kerrie Neu is a district coordinator for the Dual Language Immersion programs at Granite School District in Utah. She is also an independent educational consultant, with a background in elementary education, early childhood, mathematics, and language acquisition, who creates curriculum and provides professional development for teachers.

Johanna Watzinger-Tharp is an Associate Professor of linguistics at the University of Utah. She teaches in the Department of Linguistics and also serves as L2TReC research coordinator. Together with Fernando Rubio, she has conducted large-scale research on proficiency attainment of elementary and secondary DLI students.

Target Audience
This institute is designed for pre- or in-service teachers as well as program administrators of all languages who work in a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) context, both at the elementary and secondary levels.


  • Book Purchase: The book The Teacher Clarity Playbook, Grades K-12: A Hands-On Guide to Creating Learning Intentions and Success Criteria for Organized, Effective Instruction is recommended for this online institute. The paperback spiral-bound version of the book (ISBN: 978-1544339818) is approximately $30 USD; the cost of an ebook version from Amazon is approximately $15. You may also be able to request a copy from your school or university library.
  • This 3-day synchronous online institute will run from 9 am–4 pm (Central Time). The schedule includes many synchronous (real-time) presentations, group/partner work, and activities throughout the day. It also includes some off-screen time for independent work and a break for lunch each day.
  • You must be available to participate for the entire day Tuesday–Thursday as all activities build on each other.
  • Make sure you can meet the tech requirements for this institute.

Priority Teacher Professional Development Scholarship Program–NEW!

Logo - PriorityThe Priority Teacher Professional Development Scholarship program is designed to promote equity and access to affordable professional development for world language educators who are currently teaching at a Community College, Minority Serving Institution, or Historically Black College/University in the United States and/or are currently teaching a Less Commonly Taught Language in the United States. The program provides funding for selected teachers in these categories to attend a CARLA Summer Institute for no charge.

Learn more and apply by March 17, 2023 on the Priority Teacher Professional Development Scholarship website.

Quote MarksRight quote marksGreat resources for teachers and schools looking to systematize work around proficiency. Exciting opportunity to bring research and practice together.
Chris Holden, 2022 Institute Participant


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