Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment

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The Most Appealing Ideas

To provide consistent education and ensure that all students meet the minimum criteria before being admitted to jobs, universities, and other relevant institutions develop certain standards. In the case of second language acquisition, the National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project were established. However, there was an issue with measuring how student performance in foreign languages compared to the standards. In other words, detailed criteria were published, but there was no means of evaluating whether they were being conformed. To address this dilemma, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) developed the Integrated Performance Assessment.

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The key and the most appealing idea of the book is the assessment that is comprised of three components, each of which addresses one of three modes of communication. These modes are interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational – each topic should have evaluations of each of these modes. Adair-Hauck et al. (2013) note that, in the majority of cases, teachers neglect one or more forms, and thus, language skills acquired by students become incomprehensive. For instance, as the authors state, during interpersonal communication activities, students mostly rely on pre-written dialogues instead of engaging in spontaneous communication (Adair-Hauck et al., 2013). Written texts are a part of the presentational mode; therefore, performance evaluation techniques have been incorrect. Adair-Hauck et al. (2013) address this and other issues by providing explicit definitions and how each of the communication methods should be assessed.

The other appealing idea is the division of assessment rubrics into three levels of proficiency. This way, it is possible to measure student progress throughout the whole curriculum, beginning from the novice level. Adair-Hauck et al. (2013) also indicate that the Integrated Performance Assessment is the necessary bridge between theoretical frameworks and practice. Previously, research and practice have been isolated from each other – the efficacy of emerging theories could not be evaluated easily. The Integrated Performance Assessment solves this and many other challenges in second-language learning.

Implications for Educators

The framework proposed by the ACTFL has a significant influence on how educators plan their lessons. Particularly, teachers will now have to prepare three assessments for each lesson or topic. These three evaluations correlate with the modes of communication defined by the ACTFL. It is critical to note that these tasks should not be isolated from each other. They should be on the same topic and interrelated – for instance, completing the first task should be a prerequisite for taking the second assignment.

The first type of task educators should prepare is the interpretive task. It may be comprised of reading, listening, or watching a movie. The critical element of this type of assessment is the usage of material that was intended for a native audience. For instance, a lesson on health may feature listening to a radio broadcast about a recent flu outbreak. Students, then, are asked to interpret the meaning of the broadcast. Assessing such tasks is challenging because interpretation involves a number of interrelated skills, such as identifying idiomatic constructs and deriving their meaning. Educators will have to measure progress accordingly; for example, if a student is proficient in reading and understanding but struggles when listening to a native speaker, relevant notes should be made.

The second task type is interpersonal – while there are two ways students communicate with each other (written and verbal), ACTFL puts an emphasis on oral communication. Therefore, educators should design their lessons to include speaking assignments. As noted before, instructors should pay more attention to how students tackle verbal tasks – preparing written notes may facilitate learning but poses a hindrance to the development of speaking skills. Therefore, dialogues should take a natural form, and it is the educator’s responsibility to ensure that students conform.

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Developing the one-way communication abilities of students is part of presentational tasks. They are comprised of writing and speaking activities, including but not limited to, giving a speech, preparing a video presentation, or writing a persuasive essay. As stated early, all of the three tasks should be interconnected. Therefore, the third assignment may be making a written report based on information obtained during the previous two assignments.

In summary, the Integrated Performance Assessment is a tool for a thorough evaluation of student progress and comparing that progress with the measures found in the National Standards. An educator’s responsibility, in this context, is developing appropriate lesson plans and assignments. It may result in a paradigm shift in how teachers approach lesson preparation and assessment. Educators will also have to learn how to design quality questions for interpretive tasks. Evaluation rubric templates are provided by the ACTFL; it should be noted that rubrics are longitudinal because they capture both the cognitive and linguistic development of students for a prolonged period of time.

The Ideas to Challenge

The authors presented a well-prepared description of how to implement the Integrated Performance Assessment. Because of an increasing gap between research and practice, it is critical to be able to measure how students are performing according to set standards. Without a written guide, it would be challenging for educators to implement this type of assessment. No controversial ideas were found in the text – it is comprehensive and consistent.


Adair-Hauck, B., Glisan, E. W., & Troyan, F. J. (2013). Implementing integrated performance assessment. American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

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"Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment." ChalkyPapers, 1 Feb. 2022,


ChalkyPapers. (2022) 'Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment'. 1 February.


ChalkyPapers. 2022. "Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment." February 1, 2022.

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ChalkyPapers. "Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment." February 1, 2022.