My first year anniversary using Integrated Performance Assessments

This month I am celebrating my first year anniversary using Integrated Performance Assessments (IPA) in my classroom. This kind of assessment has simply transformed the way I teach. I just finished re-reading my posts about my first IPA and my second IPA. I cannot believe how much I have grown since then! My journey is far from over though, I was recently at an IPA workshop by Francis J. Troyan, co-author of the latest ACTFL “Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment” book and he very humbly said that fully implementing the IPA practice in your curriculum takes 5-10 years!

Four reasons Integrated Performance Assessments are so transforming:

1. IPAs are, in my opinion, the closest thing to real-life tasks: they expose students to cultural situations and ask them to reflect and problem solve.

2. IPAs focus on functional language and cultural understanding, not vocab and grammar.  With IPAs you have to teach strategies in all three modes of communication. My 8th graders have become much stronger readers in one year, they read and comprehend authentic texts such as articles about the Sochi Olympics instead of vocabulary-controlled textbook texts.

3. IPAs do not just audit students’ performance, they IMPROVE students’ performance (Grant Wiggin (1998). Educative Assessment).  I absolutely love the fact that while my students are being assessed with an IPA, they are still learning new words, new ideas, new cultural perspective, and new skills.

4. Because IPAs are criterion-referenced and not norm-referenced, your feedback to students tremendously improves, which directly correlates to greater student achievement. Now I can tell a student: ” you meet expectations in identifying key words and you are approaching expectations in identifying the main ideas”, as opposed to “you got 80% on the reading”.

So, in order to celebrate my first year anniversary, here are all the IPAs I have administered in my classroom, I am improving them and adding new ones on a regular basis. Whether you are an IPA practitioner or a newbie, and no matter what language you teach, feel free to use and modify them for your needs:

Level 3 IPAs (Novice High -> Intermediate Low)

Level 1 IPAs (Novice Low-> Novice Mid)


    • Angela, once you start implementing IPAs, you will never go back to traditional multiple choice grammar and vocab based assessments. Let me know how it goes!.

  1. Thanks for sharing this post! I really like your third point that they are learning new thigns while being assessed. We did a reading activity today in class that was structured like an IPA and I totally saw this in action.

    Also, many thanks for your leadership and contributions to the profession over this past year with IPAs.(:

  2. Looked at a few of your IPAs (Novice Low) and am wondering, are the task questions in English for teachers like me who don’t speak French or are they that way on purpose for the students?

    • Hello, Interpretive questions and answers should be in English for Novice learners. You may move to Target language for intermediate but you want to make sure: 1. students understand the questions 2. they are not just plagiarizing the text by copying and pasting words in the language, rather they are truly showing comprehension. This is why ACTFL recommends the use of English. Hope this helps!

      • Which ACTFL document mentions which language to use to evaluate reading comprehension? I tried to find it on their site with no luck. Thanks for sharing your IPAs!

      • Bonjour Denise, is where you can buy the very helpful ACTFL IPA guide (I highly recommend it). The guidance of using English for the question (especially for Novice) was given to me by one of the authors of the book who came to train us last year.

  3. Thank you! I am embarking on my first year! Here we go…so far it’s awkward and my students are freaking out a bit! (Middle school 7th & 8th grade). I look forward to your updates!

    • It is a great journey! Use the feed-back from your students to make changes to your teaching. The first time I did an IPA my 8th graders told I was not teaching them what was on the test. That’s when I really started teaching reading strategies.

  4. […] as a synonym for “mastery.” This is also an area where I am still developing. Switching to Integrated Performance Assessments, along with rubrics with clear criteria (standards), is allowing me to: 1. set clear goals for my […]

  5. Bonjour! I know this was posted some time ago, but I am just beginning this journey. I’m late to the game I guess. I am curious to know if you did this on your own? If your district was supportive? Thanks so much for sharing! I’m feeling overwhelmed by it all. I feel like I need 40 hours to even begin to start the process.

    • Bonjour! You are asking me if I created these IPAs on my own? Yes I did. I did this work for my high school and my state (OH) at the time so there was support. Please feel free to use/adapt them. Honestly, I don’t use IPAs for Novice any more but I still use them for my Intermediate students. Have you heard of Madame Shepard? She has a kinds of units/IPAs available on her blog: I think you will find it useful! Let me know if I can be of assistance.

      • Hi!

        Yes, I was curious if you did it as part of a larger team or all alone. I’ve looked at some of the OH resources. I’m in PA, and we don’t quite have the support. I’m trying to shift my district towards a more communicative approach to teaching, but our coordinator isn’t someone with WL background. I have been reading Mme Shepard’s blog, and I see she is doing a prof dev’t in NJ next year. I’d love to go!!! One last question – why not in level 1? Do you still teach primarily for the 3 modes of communication even if you aren’t using the IPA specifically?

        Thanks so much for your feedback!!

      • I was not part of a larger team. I would start with your Intermediates and design your IPAs or reuse other teachers’ IPA (you are welcome to use mine if they are not too outdated). Then, plan your units backward using the IPA.

        About Novice, I have since come to the conclusion that I am not really interested in skills for Novice, I am only interested in establishing a strong foundation using as much comprehensible input as possible. After reading a lot of Dr. Krashen’s work and attending several conferences, I don’t want to spend too much time on “reading skills” (such as identifying Main ideas, key words, making inferences, etc). I would rather spend time reading to and with my students. As a parent, that is what I have been focusing on with my own children (reading with them, not worrying about Main ideas, etc) so why treat my emerging French readers any differently?

        I hope this makes sense and it answers your question!

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