I am very excited about our new grading system at our school, Innovation Academy Charter School. We’ve changed our approach to assessment and report cards this year, including moving to a 4 point scale and specific grading strands by department.

Below you’ll find what Stel, Alicia and I have created for the Middle School Spanish Grading Policy (with help from our supervisor and Head of School). We’ll be giving student feedback on 4 strands that focus on the regular work they do to lead to proficiency. We’ll also be giving them narrative feedback on their ACTFL proficiency level.
I had mentioned this in my last post, Essential Questions.


In this course, students will be assessed in the following 4 strands:

Problem Solving: Uses communication strategies to infer and express meaning in Spanish. Takes risks to extend language. Assessment for Problem Solving will be based on students’ demonstration of communication strategies through active class participation.

Effective Communication: Uses 100% Spanish in class appropriate to current language level; avoids English. Assessment for Effective Communication will be based on students’ commitment to communicate only in the target language (Spanish). In order to earn a Proficient grade in Effective Communication a student must completely avoid English. Silence, gestures, and drawing are encouraged as alternative communication strategies.  

Community Membership: Works collaboratively within classroom community to achieve goals. Assessment for Community Membership will be based on students’ respectful interaction with all members of the class through support, encouragement, and care.  

Proficiency LevelSelf-Direction: Completes homework, classwork, and digital portfolio assignments thoughtfully and on time.

Success in the four assessment strands will lead to improved proficiency in Spanish. We will be tracking proficiency in a digital portfolio and students will receive narrative feedback on their ACTFL level each semester.

  • 1st Year Goal-  is to demonstrate Novice-Mid proficiency. Novice-Mid speakers are able to list words and memorized phrases on a variety of topics. They are able to recombine learned words and phrases to communicate on familiar topics. They are understandable to people accustomed to working with language learners.
  • 2nd Year Goal- is to demonstrate Novice-High proficiency. Novice-High speakers use a mixture of incomplete and complete sentences to discuss a variety of topics. They are able to ask some questions. They are understandable to a sympathetic listener.
  • 3rd Year Goal is to demonstrate Intermediate-Low proficiency. Intermediate-Low speakers are able to sustain sentence length discourse when discussing any topic relevant to self and survival. They demonstrate comfort with day to day conversation. They are understandable to sympathetic listeners.  

Some students move more quickly through the goals and we adjust their personal goals, accordingly. They typically meet Novie-High after one year, Intermediate-Low after two and Intermediate-Mid after 3 years.

  • Intermediate-Mid speakers speak with complex and connected sentences. Their language demonstrates quantity and quality. Quantity meaning they can elaborate and give details on the topic. Quality meaning their sentences and discourse have some clear structure.


There are two regular homework assignments: Edmodo and Diario. They can be completed any time of the week prior to the due date. Edmodo posts are due every Wednesdays and Diario is due every other Friday. Students are given a list of due dates at the beginning of each quarter.

Edmodo Posts

In Spanish we are using Edmodo so that students can interact in Spanish outside of the normal class period. Just like in the classroom, students need to interact without using any English. Everyone is required to complete a weekly task through posting and commenting on other posts. Additionally, there are other enrichment assignments posted for students to practice various skills: listening, reading, writing and interpersonal communication skills.


Students will also write thoughtful English (or Spanish if a student chooses) entries in their Diario about the experience of acquiring a new language. Your teacher will give students prompts and sentence starters.

The entries should be at least a paragraph long (8 sentence minimum). Diario documents will be shared during English week in mid-September. The same document will be used for the entire school year.


This Spanish class is focused on increasing proficiency in all areas of language learning. Throughout each quarter, students will have many opportunities to show how they are learning, improving and growing in their use of Spanish.  For this reason,  we will not be revising.  As a class we are interested in constantly growing and moving forward while making errors as we go.


Digital portfolios will document students’ growth as demonstrated by proficiency videos, interviews, writing prompts, and self assessments. Students are responsible for adding these pieces to their digital portfolio as they are completed. Students have the option to use an up-to-date Spanish portfolio as a jury or quality night piece, pending teacher approval.

Let us know what you think! I’ll update you on how this unfolds over the first year. Please share your approach to assessment, too.


2 thoughts on “Grading

  1. Pingback: English Time! | Desk-Free

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