Thematically Organized Assessment Tasks
Consortium for Assessing Performance Standards
A New Jersey FLAP Grant Project
What are the content/theme areas of the TOAs?
All of the Thematically Organized Assessments have been developed around a certain pre-identified theme. Many-if not all-of these themes are familiar to language teachers and language learners, although the particular title ascribed to the theme may use different wording that what is more commonly seen. The following themes have been used for development of the TOAs:
- Art Appreciation
- Art of Well-Being
- Celebrations and Traditions
- Discovering the World Around Me
- How do I spend my free time?
- Legends and Folktales
- Work and Career
The TOAs are listed by level (novice, intermediate, pre-advanced) and then identified by theme – title. While each task has been developed in a specific language, it is our belief that these tasks can easily be adapted for other languages. Therefore, the language of the TOA has not been identified in the listing in the hopes that teachers will investigate all the TOAs, regardless of the specific language they teach
Due to copyright considerations, the text for the interpretive task has often had to be removed.
What does a TOA actually look like?
Each TOA is anchored to a proficiency target (Novice-Mid, Intermediate-Low or Pre-Advanced [Intermediate-High]), a theme and the three modes of communication (interpersonal, interpretive and presentation). A list of TOA themes is provided in a previous section of this introduction.
The first page of a TOA provides the following information:
- Title of the TOA
- Theme of the TOA
- Targeted proficiency level
- An overview of the three assessment tasks for the TOA
TOAs are intended to measure the full range of student language ability across the three modes of communication: interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational. Therefore, each TOA, in addition to targeting a proficiency level and a theme will assess student communicative ability across the three modes.
Once past the opening page of the TOA, the reader finds the three different assessment tasks: first, interpretive, second, interpersonal and last, presentational. Each task follows a standard template that includes the following components:
- Task Title
- Level [Novice-Mid, Intermediate-Low, Pre-Advanced]
- National Standards Goals Addressed
- Communicative Mode
- Time Frame [time needed to complete the task]
- Description of the Task [always stated in student-friendly language, requiring no adaptation on the part of the using teacher]
- Materials Needed
- Teacher Notes [any information that would be helpful for the using teacher to have in advance]
Thus, each task contains a page with standard template information that provides the using teacher with the elements of the assessment task.
Following this page are any support materials that are required to implement the task, Internet links where pertinent additional information can be found and any activity sheets that might be required for the task. Finally, a rubric for evaluating the student’s performance for the particular task is included. Many of the rubrics found in the TOAs are tailor-made for the specific tasks; others may be generic rubrics developed by project teachers to measure interpretive, interpersonal and presentational tasks across the three targeted proficiency levels of Novice-Mid, Intermediate-Low and Pre-Advanced.