18 March 2015

What I've learned from IPAs so far

#1 - My kids are amazing. They can do so much with the language in Spanish II!

#2 - My tasks are a little off level-wise. But my kids are amazing anyway.

#3 - AAPPL rubrics are also amazing.


I have been extremely satisfied with my decision to switch to Integrated Performance Assessment format for test grades along with a sliding scale for grading, wherein what it takes increases each 6-week grading period. Using the portfolios as a means to gauge when kids need more practice also appears to be working as well.

Not that it's all been sunshine and roses.

Mea culpa
Now, according to various ACTFL guidelines, your self is pretty much the only topic suitable for novices. However, I'm trying to hurry Spanish II through to intermediate, so they can do meaningful, world-changing things here and now, rather than pretending life doesn't begin until Spanish III. I mean, I'm generally sticking to familiar vocabulary we've used in context multiple times, multiple ways (or at least providing enough choice--among 100s of pins, say--that they can find plenty to recognize).

I mean, I guess I can say that a lot of the writing and discussion I ask them to do falls under "likes and dislikes," but it is possible the interpersonal and presentational tasks I've designed demand Intermediate level production. I do, however, definitely need to scaffold in more practice questioning before IPAs so students aren't just saying "Me gusta ___. Es divertido." and "Sí, me gusta también."(Though I would have thought our new coro roulette procedure would be helping here...I'll have to review conversation videos.) This also indicates to me that I need to more closely align the TPRS stories not so much with the interpreted texts as with what students will need to produce for their answers. Of course it also might be time to do an interpersonal sample/rubric alignment like we did with interpretive.

Also, with the second IPA, time management was an issue. Why should a 1-3 minute video--no bells, no whistles, no editing of any kind--take 30, much less FORTY minutes to record? It worked a lot better when I explicitly explained ahead of time that they get TWO retakes, so the thing should NOT take more than 10 minutes, 15 tops.

Good news and bad news
Most kids' performances are about where I'd expect they'd be on the proficiency scale, though I think a few sold themselves short on the first IPA by not including EVERYTHING they could recognize, but they're catching up now. There are, however, still a couple who make me wonder if it was really in their best interest to pass them on to Spanish II, but at least now I know who to seek out for Academic Hour Fridays and extra help before school, after school, or during that magical time when they have lab during my planning.

There have been a couple of translator incidents. Good news: I can generally tell, and kids have mostly been honest when confronted. A couple of times they were actually able to explain to me how they HAD learned some esoteric words, too! (Hint: Genius Hour.) Also, translator interference may not even really affect their grades in most cases, because I just score what they did on their own (also pretty obvious).

What's more is it's an excellent opportunity for discourse about what will improve their grades, since translatoring obviously won't. In the odd case where the kid doesn't fess up at once, though, it's nice to have a backup to let them try again.  The only bad news, really, is that I have babies that felt the need to use outside assistance in the first place and wasted that time and effort on a dead end.

Mostly, though, the kiddos surprise me with how much they know. We're halfway through Spanish II, and I've got kids pulling legitimate I-2 scores by AAPPL guidelines! (Granted, it was with a technically non-authentic source, but I really do think they're just that good.)

The numbers
The graduated grading system strikes me as very fair so far. The first six weeks, those who get some recognizable Spanish out at all still get a passing grade and thus have a solid start they can build from, as they should when they are getting back into the swing of things. At the same time, they are alerted to the fact that they have extra work to do to keep up. And guess what? At midway, they are!

Some statistics:

Interpretive
  • 100% maintained or improved their demonstrated proficiency level
  • 83% advanced at least one level
  • 45% advanced two or more levels!!
  • 77% are on target to achieve Intermediate by the end of the semester
Interpersonal
  • 97% maintained or improved their demonstrated proficiency level
  • 48% advanced at least one level
  • 71% are on target to achieve Intermediate by the end of the semester

Presentational
  • 100% maintained or improved their demonstrated proficiency level
  • 67% advanced at least one level
  • 96% are on target to achieve Intermediate by the end of the semester
So I have a total of 13 kids to pull out for extra help on Fridays--totally doable. I also have 2 others I still need to double check and make sure they're as awesome as they look on their IPA results.

As for everyone else, it looks like we need to really focus on the interpersonal, so I'm throwing emphasizing certain skills with their Ruletas de coros and Correos de colaboración like, oh, say, asking questions instead of just saying "sí" to everything your partner says.


I'd like to thank the Academy
And by "Academy," I mean ACTFL. I really like the tips that the AAPPL rubrics provide, and though I don't know if the kids actually read that feedback I paste into the comments in Google Classroom or if their parents pay any attention when they get those novel-length suggestions on report cards when their students are struggling, BUT it gives me a MANAGEABLE way to tell kids what to DO about their grade! It keeps the emphasis on moving forward.

I like that very much.

I would, however, like to figure out ways to apply those tips. I might figure out a system opciones that fit with each suggestion for each level of each mode. I might set aside time in class for pull-out sessions connecting the tips to the current PBL project. I might come up with actual lesson-plan-type scenarios for tutoring time instead of being a bum and just kind of hanging out on the side grading but "waiting for questions" while they catch up (see, we've all got some confessions in us, Sra. Wienhold!)

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