Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

University Students' Perceptions of Integrated Performance Assessment and the Connection between Classroom Learning and Assessment

Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

University Students' Perceptions of Integrated Performance Assessment and the Connection between Classroom Learning and Assessment

Article excerpt

Introduction

In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in the implementation of the ACTFL's World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages (WRSLL) (National Standards Collaborative Board, 2015) in university foreign language programs (Ter Horst & Pearce, 2010; Terry, 2009). For most of these programs, the adoption of the WRSLL constitutes an innovation, and its success depends on a variety of factors, most especially establishing a clear and valid connection between classroom teaching and assessment (Brown, 1999; Gibbs, 1999; Scouller, 1998). The Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) framework (Adair-Hauck, Glisan, & Troyan, 2013; Glisan, Adair-Hauck, Koda, Sandrock, & Swender, 2003) reflects the tenets of standards-based and proficiency-oriented instruction and allows learners to demonstrate performance in the three modes of communication (interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational). Because a strong body of previous research (e.g., see Maclellan, 2001; McDowell & Sambell, 1999; Scouller, 1998; and the studies reviewed by Struyven, Dochy, & Janssens, 2005) has established a connection between learners' perceptions of learning and assessment and their learning process and outcomes, when investigating the implementation of IPA it is essential to consider learners' views, as they can affect the success of the approach as a learning tool. The present article pursues this line of inquiry by investigating Novice, Intermediate Low, and Intermediate Mid Spanish students' perceptions concerning IPA and its value as a bridge between learning and assessment in university second language (L2) Spanish classes.

Review of Literature

IPA

The IPA was born out of the need to find a theoretically sound, standards-based practical way to assess L2 students' performance and to measure their success in achieving the outcomes delineated in the Communication standards in the WRSLL. Theoretically, IPAs exemplify what Wiggins (1998) called "educative assessment" and are fully aligned with education frameworks (Brown, 1999; Stiggins & Chappuis, 2006) that promote the use of assessment to improve students' performance and learning process and to inform teaching and learning practices. In the words of Adair-Hauck et al. (2013), assessments "must feature authentic tasks, or those that mirror the tasks and challenges encountered by individuals in the real world" (p. 25). In the case of L2 learning, this means assessment tools that allow students to use the target language in the three real-world modes of communication (interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational) to complete thematically related tasks based on the tenets of the WRSLL. These IPA instruments are implemented in a recurring learning assessment cycle that involves modeling, practice, performance (assessment), and feedback. The feedback that results from the assessment then becomes part of the learning process and the modeling for the next learning cycle (Adair-Hauck et al., 2013).

The first IPA prototype was developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and it involved the participation of L2 researchers, instructors, and learners in schools in six different geographical areas of the United States (Adair-Hauck, Glisan, Koda, Swender, & Sandrock, 2006). The materials that were created for the first stages of IPA implementation included all levels of profi ciency (Novice, Intermediate, and Pre-Advanced) that were represented in the piloting classes. Once completed, these new instructional resources were tested and reconceptualized based on initial classroom trials, and the modified tasks were then tried again in other L2 classes. The developers also investigated the instructors' and students' perceptions of different aspects of the prototypes and their implementation. In their 2006 article, Adair-Hauck and her colleagues reported questionnaire data gathered from participating instructors concerning the incorporation of IPA and confirmed that IPA had positively affected their teaching and the way in which they would develop their assessment tools in the future. …

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