CI-style Assessments

It’s the end of the 1st 9 weeks. Lots of folks are asking how to make assessments when you’re teaching using the type of non-targeted CI that I write about on this blog.


The answer is: It’s super easy!


Here’ s how I do it.

Typically, my summatives have 3 sections: reading comp, listening comp, and presentational writing. For the final test/exam, I also do a speaking interpersonal sectiong, but it takes so long I only do it once.

Reading section:

First, develop the reading sections based on conversations from class.

In order to do this, you’ve got to have some sort of textual record of what happened in class. That shouldn’t be a problem if you’re doing a daily Write and Discuss and collecting them as I suggest on this blog. (if you don’t know what a write and discuss is, these are all my blogs filed under the “write and discuss” category.)

Here is a snapshot of a text from a class last year and the corresponding test section.

Class snapshot as recorded in a Write and Discuss on Oct. 10th:

Diez de octubre

Yo soy muy atlético. Cuando yo era joven, yo jugaba todos los deportes.

En el VERANO (junio, julio, agosto, y septiembre) yo jugaba el béisbol, nadar, el tenis, el ráquetbol, el golf, hacer surf, y los agua-deportes.

En el OTOÑO (septiembre, octubre, y noviembre) yo jugaba fútbol.

En el INVIERNO, yo jugaba baloncesto, hockey, el esquí, hacer snowboard

Class snapshot as recorded in the Write and Discuss on Nov. 16th 2018

La persona especial hoy es Devon.

Devon dijo–Yo vivo en Windy Creek en Chesterfield, pero yo no soy de Chesterfield. Yo soy originalmente de Nueva York. Yo soy de Newburgh, Nueva York. Yo tengo catorce años. Yo soy en grado noveno.

Devon dijo–Yo no tengo una mascota, pero en el futuro me gustaría tener un perro. Me gustarían un perro café de tamaño normal.

Devon dijo–Yo no tengo un tatuaje ahora, pero en el futuro, me gustaría tener cuatro. Yo quiero uno con el nombre de mi mamá (Sheron) y otro que dice “nana” en honor de mi abuela (grandma).


Interpretive reading section from the exam given about a month later:

Part A: Read the story. Now answer the questions in complete sentences IN ENGLISH. (4 pts each. 32 total)

Jason es un estudiante de Sr. Chonko en otra clase de español uno. A Jason le gusta la clase de español. Él habla mucho en español y también en inglés. A Sr. Chonko le gusta cuando Jason habla en español, pero no le gusta cuando Jason habla en inglés.

Jason es un chico atlético y muy activo. Le gusta jugar fútbol americano y baloncesto. También mira los dos deportes en la televisión, pero prefiere mirar fútbol americano. Su equipo favorito de fútbol americano es Clemson. También le gustan los Vikings de Minnesota pero prefiere mirar partidos de las universidades.

Jason dijo–Yo vivo en Hampton Park en Chesterfield, pero yo no soy de Chesterfield. Yo soy originalmente de California. Yo soy de Hamington, California. Yo tengo catorce años. Yo soy en grado noveno.

Jason dijo–Yo no tengo una mascota, pero en el futuro me gustaría tener un perro. Me gustarían un perro café de tamaño normal. No quiero un perro pequeño como un shitzu y no quiero perro grande como un greyhound. Yo quiero un perro normal como un border collie.

Jason dijo–Yo no tengo un tatuaje ahora, pero en el futuro, me gustaría tener dos tatuajes. Yo quiero que mi primer tatuaje diga “Sr. Chonko” porque es mi maestro favorito y mi segundo tatuaje va a decir “Qué ridículo” porque es mi frase favorita en español.

  1. Where does Jason live?
  2. Describe Jason’s personality and interests in at least three ways.
  3. Which sport does Jason watch more?
  4. What is Jason’s favorite team?
  5. What type of pet does Jason want?
  6. What kind of pet does Jason not want?
  7. ¿What is Jason’s first tattoo going to say?
  8. How many tattoos does Jason eventually want?


I use questions and answers in English. ACTFL also says we should for at least level 1-3. It means students really have to demonstrate comprehension, not just pick a word or phrase from the reading to copy down. It’s actually harder and gives the teacher better feedback.


Listening Section:

Same deal with the listening comprehension section. For this particular summative, I based the listening section on a class co-created story. I just read the story out loud during the test–the same one from  class. It’s Spanish 1, y’all. Relax. You can use a familiar text for assessment. It says so right in the ACTFL novice descriptors. So here’s the text and then the corresponding questions:

Había una albóndiga que se llamaba Abriano porque era italiano. Era una albóndiga de tamaño normal. Era de color normal también: marrón o café. La albóndiga vivía en Roma, la capital de Italia. Vivía en un restaurante italiano de pizza. Fue una pizzería. La albóndiga vivía en la cocina en un plato encima de espagueti con salsa de tomate. La albóndiga estaba nerviosa (tenía miedo) porque en restaurantes italianos mucha gente comía espagueti con albóndigas.

Un día, un panini entró en el restaurante. Era el famoso panini mexicano que se llamaba Chimichanga. Chimichange necesitaba comer mucho para su lucha con Saaasage the Savage. Él le llamó al mesero y le pidió diecisiete mil pizzas y un plato de espaguetis con una sola albóndiga.

El mesero fue a la cocina y trajo (brought) las pizzas a Chimichanga. Entonces, él trajo el plato de espagueti con Abriano, la albóndiga. Abriano estaba muy, muy nervioso porque no quería morirse.

Él gritó al mesero–¡Ayúdame! ¡Por favor!

El mesero era muy amable y le ayudó a Abriano a escapar.

And the questions from the test:

Part B. Listen to the script and answer the questions in complete sentences in English. (4 pts each. 20 total)

  1. What is Mariano?____________________________________________________________________
  2. Where does Mariano live?
  3. Describe Mariano using at least three adjectives.
  4. Why is Mariano sad?
  5. What does Mariano want to do to become happy?


Presentational Writing

First and foremost, it should be noted that students don’t have to practice writing to be able to write. The first test of the year for my students is typically the first time they’ve ever written in Spanish. To practice writing, students need to read. That’s it. So, CI teachers shouldn’t feel like they shouldn’t evaluate writing just because writing isn’t practiced much.

For Spanish 1, I just want them to demonstrate that they can write in complete sentences about themselves. So, my prompt is usually something along those lines. At times, I switch it up and ask them to re-write one of our co-created stories, or (even harder) make up their own stories.

I always pump them up at first by reviewing some of the high-frequency gestures. I have little TPR gestures for like, have, prefer, want, there is, to be, etc. And before the writing section, I tell the students to remember our gestures if they need help.

Here’s my standard presentational writing section:


Presentational Writing: (20 pts) Write as much as possible about yourself, but at least 100 words. Think about the conversations we’ve had so far in class about what we are like, where we live, how old we are, our clothing, our families, our hobbies. Think about the verbs that we have gestures for. Write in complete sentences and do not use any English. If you forget a word, try to think of another, simpler way to say your thought.


I just change the point total get the whole test to add up to 100 points.


You don’t have to make the listening and reading sections as long, I don’t think, especially for level 1. The whole point is, just take conversations–content–from class and make up comprehension questions. That’s it. It’s nothing really specific to CI.



    • I wouldn’t ever provide the reading because then it becomes a reading comprehension activity. Now, I don’t think having 2 reading comprehension activities is necessarily a problem, but I wouldn’t call it a listening task anymore. For the novice student, if I wanted to make sure the students were really successful, I would use a very familiar text from a previous class, something that was created together, then read, then reviewed. In that case, I think even the most novice student could be successful.


    • Howdy Stacy! You know, I take responsibility for leveling the listening script and speed to an appropriate level, that is most folks getting most questions correct. So I walk around the room and gauge their comprehension in between repetitions. I almost always read the script just twice; however, there’s lots that I do to try to level it based on in-the-moment feedback. I can use more visual scaffolding by acting and pointing around the room, I can slow down my pace, I can pause for five or ten seconds in natural transition moments, or I can just repeat it an additional time. But ultimately, I think it’s my responsibility to match the assessment difficulty level to the level my students will be able to achieve.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “I use questions and answers in English. ACTFL also says we should for at least level 1-3.” Do you know where I can find this from ACTFL? Thanks.


    • Hello Rebekah,

      Thanks for your question. It’s discussed in the ACTFL publication “Implementing Integrated Performance Assessments.” I don’t know the page number of where it is discussed theoretically; however all of the sample IPAs in the second half of the book have interpretive questions in English. Now that I’m double-checking, it’s even for the Advanced proficiency level, not just novice and intermediate, for example pg 89 features a Spanish IPA on divorce. It’s rare that a high schooler can even achieve advanced levels, so we can infer that ACTFL recommends English questions for all high school levels for the interpretive section, not just level 1-3. I don’t know about AP classes. Perhaps they should be in Spanish because that’s what will appear on the AP test.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s