09 May 2017

DIY Reading Practice for the AAPPL Test

Studies suggest that students do better on tests with familiar formats. I'm afraid I was remiss in preparing my students for the AAPPL test, for even though I have been kind of obsessed with AAPPL rubrics for the past couple of years, and my kiddos know their scoring criteria better than normal kids their age, I was really doing my own thing with the format up until last week.

I figured out a way to set up IPAs that were easy for me to make and easy for me to score, so when they tried the demo AAPPL tests last week--days before they would take the real thing for the first time--it was a little stressful. All of the time I had spent encouraging them to focus only on what they knew and skipping what they didn't, it made them panic a little when they had specific questions to answer, regardless of how much they understood.

Don't get me wrong: 81% still met North Carolina's expectations for Spanish II in reading. (Which makes me feel kind of smug about hitting the Camp Musicuentos target!)

But since not everyone was willing to bet $5 that they could hit intermediate on all 4 tests for the Global Language Diploma Seal, I ended up making my own version based on the topics listed on the AAPPL site using Google Drawings.

Here's how you can make your own!

1. Create a Google Drawing for each level

I used the topics for the 2017 A form (since my Spanish 3 kids were at least $5 confident that they had a shot at the seal of biliteracy) on the Tasks & Topics page. I decided on one for Novice Mid, and another for Novice High from the top box, and then one for Intermediate Low and one for Intermediate Mid from the bottom box:
  • NM - describing your school's floor plan
  • NH - chores you are expected to do
  • IL - a letter from your teacher that is about this week's activities
  • IM - texts about news headlines
I divided it this way primarily based on the vocabulary and text types that I anticipated using in each. For example, I knew there would be words we had actually used frequently in the floor plan descriptions and that I would be hard pressed to go beyond a sentence describing each room. I also knew that since I am "your teacher," I would be able to string together multiple sentences but with vocabulary that I had been using all year. The chores and headlines? Anyone's game.

2. Create and find appropriate texts to interpret

I opted for a mixture, partially because I knew that these students selected this option precisely because they were not confident. So where it said "your school," or "your teacher," I went ahead and personalized! So I used part of our actual floor plan and exactly what we were doing the next week for the NM and IL texts! I was trying to achieve a cross section of familiar and unfamiliar contexts, just like the AAPPL test, so I did not even feel bad about that "leg up."

Just PS, if you're doing a floor plan, include, say, bathrooms as a reference.

As for finding, I did an image search for quehaceres for the NH to get some sort of infograph and then went straight to CNN en español for some headlines and blurbs (similar to a structure I had seen in the AAPPL demo over their shoulders). I made it a point to hit the ShowbizLatinoamérica, Tecnología, and Salud categories for some variety--again to imitate what I saw in the demos.

So what I ended up with was
  • NM - (fake) descriptions of exams teachers would be giving where
  • NH - lists of chores appropriate for ages 2-3 and 4-5
  • IL - an actual letter from me to them
  • IM - blurbs about Brangelina, electric cars, Venezuela, and obesity

3. Design the tasks

AAPPL is not exactly multiple choice. There are  multiple choices, but it's never just multiple choice. It's matching, but not matching. You always have to move something--hence the Google Drawing vs Google Docs. But even then, there are always wrong answers.

So I put the texts on the Drawings and made some things that could be matched based on the texts, wrote the instructions in English at the top.

For floorplans, you matched teachers' names and subjects to rooms in our school floorplan:

To match with the chores list, I availed myself of the image search within Google Drawings to find some to match some of the tasks I though they would understand (I kind of forgot the "extra" answers on this one, though. But I liked the way these fit together.)

There's my letter, there are boxes representing a five-day week (maybe I should have added numbers), and then there are more textboxes with paraphrases of what I told them we'd be doing.


I mixed in a translation for the actual headline for most of these--very sneaky. Very few got any of these right. But, again, these were not the kids who felt intermediate, so that's pretty consistent with my expectations.



After scoring these, I was actually pretty shocked to find how clearly the separate assessments distinguished levels! There were one or two who did better on the Intermediate Low example I made simply because of the vocabulary used (I suspect), but several did the Novice Mid and Novice High examples just fine, then floundered on the Intermediate Low and mid with longer texts.

In other words, I think I have a pretty solid practice test to get kiddos familiar with the format for next year now!

1 comment:

  1. I struggle so much with planning appropriate tasks per level. I want to take PD through ACTFL "Developing Interpretive Reading and Listening Proficiency" to get that training! https://www.actfl.org/assessment-professional-development/professional-development-workshops/proficiency-assessment-workshops-opi-wpt

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