Integrated Assessment in Modern Languages

Students are assessed on their language performance using a standards-based rubric.  Each course has a performance target based on the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.

Explanation of Grading

In all classical and modern language courses we grade with standards-based rubrics designed to assess students on language proficiency and skill.  A (Advanced/Meets standard in a superior manner); B (Proficient/Adequately meets standard); C (Needs improvement/Almost meets standard); D-F (Does not meet standard…Unacceptable). Percentage grading, which reflects quantity, not quality, is not used.

Sequential Grading:
The nature of study and mastery in virtually all foreign language courses is such that a student is required both to retain all material learned from the onset of study and to build upon these to achieve greater mastery. For this reason, the department believes that for us the averaging of grades over the course of the year makes little sense.

As an illustration, consider the following sets of grades:

A (at the end of the first quarter), C (at the midyear), F (at the end of year) for student one.
Consider the reverse for student two (F, C, and A).

The averages in both instances would be about a C, yet it is obvious that student two is penalized for such averaging, as he or she has actually mastered virtually all of the material by the end of the year. Student one would be shown to be in average control of the materials, whereas in truth he or she has poor control. Sequential grading is standards-based. Student one would receive a grade below C and student two would receive a grade above C. This system is not only fairer in the case of sequential courses such as ours, but also offers constant encouragement to students to try their best and to improve. Conversely, it penalizes students who perform well at the outset and then choose to rest upon their laurels with the expectation that their earlier achievement will preclude a failing grade in the course.

Term weights are as follows:
Term 1:  10%
Term 2:  18%
Term 3:  25%
Term 4:  31%
(Final Exam: 16%)

Questions regarding either of these policies may be directed to the Classical and Modern Language Department Head.

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