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departmental assessments

the standards-based measure of proficiency

The Avant STAMP 4S (Standards-Based Measure of Proficiency) language test was created to improve language-learning outcomes and support excellence in language programs. Many leading language programs around the world are using Avant STAMP data to refocus their curricula, introduce professional development to hone their teachers’ ability to deliver improved proficiency outcomes, to measure student growth, and to qualify students for the Seal of Biliteracy.

The Avant STAMP engages students with real-world content that is leveled according to the topics commonly taught at each level of instruction. STAMP’s adaptive test design adjusts to a student’s level so they are challenged - but not overwhelmed - to show what they can do with the language.

What is the Avant STAMP 4S? The Avant STAMP 4S determines language proficiency in four domains (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking,) for grades 7-16. It is web-based and computer-adaptive, with real-world questions on topics selected to be level-appropriate based on research into topics taught at each level. The questions engage learners, and because Avant STAMP 4S is adaptive, students are able to demonstrate their own actual proficiency level without any pre-set upper limits. Avant STAMP was originally developed by the Center for Applied Second Language Studies, a National Foreign Language Resource Center at the University of Oregon and funded by the US Department of Education. Avant STAMP 4S has been validated by field testing and expert panels. It is a secure test that requires a proctor during administration.

Who is assessed using the STAMP? Students in the following courses are assessed using the STAMP:

  • Middlesex Middle School
    • French Grade 8
    • Spanish Grade 8
  • Darien High SchoolMandarin - All levels
    • French - Levels 3/3H, 4/4H, 5, AP French Language & Culture
    • Spanish - Levels 3/3H, 4/4H, 5, AP Spanish Language & Culture
    • Students of Latin are assessed using the ALIRA Assessment, as there is no STAMP available in this language.
To learn more about...
  • the STAMP assessment and other FAQs, click here.
  • how to take a sample STAMP test, click here.
  • the ALIRA for Latin students, click here.

integrated performance assessments (IPA)

What is an IPA? An Integrated Performance Assessment is a classroom-based performance assessment model developed by ACTFL that can be used for evaluating student's communication skills in the three modes of communication: Interpretive, what we learn from reading, viewing, or listening to language; Presentational, writing or speaking to an audience for a specific purpose; and Interpersonal, defined as two-way communication in the target language for the purpose of filling in an information gap.

These tasks are not unlike typical instruction in the classroom, but offer a more formal assessment of language proficiency and are centered around a specific theme and task. In an IPA, all tasks are connected. For example, in an IPA on family/routines, a student may view a video of a student discussing their daily routine (interpretive). Then, after viewing the video, they may compare/contrast their routine with a friend (interpersonal). Finally, they may make a response video sharing their own routine (presentational), similar to the video they saw in the interpretive task.

Who participates in an IPA? IPAs are used throughout all levels of World Language classrooms. At the elementary level, students will participate in an IPA in third grade and fifth grade. The purpose is to evaluate where students are in their proficiency journeys and identify individual goals for the students to work towards increasing language proficiency. At the middle and high school levels, IPAs are an integral part of all courses.