Skip To Main Content

Top Bar

Mobile Menu Trigger

departmental assessments


The K-12 World Language Department uses a variety of standards-based assessments throughout the course of the school year. In Grades K-12, we use Integrated Performance Assessments, and in Grades 8-12, we use proficiency assessments. Below you will find information related to each one. 

Grades K through 12: integrated performance assessments (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. In the Darien Public Schools, our students complete them at the end of a unit of study, as a progress check, and other key points in the year.

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.

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.

Grades 8 through 12: "STAMP" - standards-based measure of proficiency

This assessment is administered to eighth-graders at Middlesex learning French and Spanish, and students at Darien High School learning French, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. The Avant STAMP 4S language assessment 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 for curriculum development, professional development to improve proficiency outcomes, measuring student growth, and to qualify students for state-sponsored Seal of Biliteracy and the Global 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 can show what they can do with the language.

The Avant STAMP 4S determines language proficiency in four domains (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking) for secondary and university students. 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 The STAMP was developed by the Center for Applied Second Language Studies at the University of Oregon and funded by the US Department of Education. 

Students in the following courses are assessed using the STAMP:

  • Middlesex Middle School
    • all students enrolled in French 8
    • all students enrolled in Spanish 8
    • all 8th-grade students enrolled in French 7 and Spanish 7
  • Darien High School
    • all students enrolled in an AP-level French and Spanish course
    • all students enrolled in a Level 5 French and Spanish course
    • all students enrolled in a Level 4/4H French, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish course
    • all Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors enrolled in a Level 3/3H French, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish course
    • all Juniors and Seniors enrolled in a Level 2 French, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish course

To learn more about:

  • the STAMP assessment and other FAQs, click here.
  • how to take a sample STAMP test, click here.

We also use the scores our students earn on the STAMP to qualify them for the Seals of Biliteracy in French, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. To learn more about our process, please visit the Seals of Biliteracy page

Grades 10 through 12: "ALIRA" - ACTFL latin interpretive reading assessment

This assessment is administered to students enrolled in Latin 2, Latin 3, and Latin 4 at Darien High School. The ALIRA is a computer-adaptive assessment of Latin students' ability to read for comprehension a variety of Latin-language texts that are similar to those used in an instructional setting. The ALIRA presents a wide variety of texts including shorter and longer texts from ancient Rome and contemporary, primary texts from today's Latin-users' community.

The assessment is designed for students learning Latin in middle school through high school. One or two multiple-choice questions accompany each Latin text and assess understanding of main ideas, supporting details, point-of-view, inferences, or text purpose. The test is designed to be adaptive and will adjust the difficulty of the texts and questions based on a student's performance throughout the assessment. By doing so, the assessment determines the student's proficiency level quickly and efficiently.

ALIRA must be completed within 50 minutes and is designed to be given in a single class period. There is a 50-minute countdown clock for the overall test. There is also a separate 90-second to 2-minute timer that appears for each text that shows students how much time they have left to complete the questions associated with that text.

To learn more about...
  • the ALIRA assessment and other FAQs, click here.
  • how to take a sample ALIRA test, click here.

We also use the scores our students earn on the ALIRA to qualify them for the Seals of Biliteracy in Latin. To learn more about our process, please visit the Seals of Biliteracy page

"AAPPL" - ACTFL ASSESSMENT OF PERFORMANCE TOWARDS PROFICIENCY IN LANGUAGES

This assessment is administered to some students that have self-identified as heritage speakers of a language other than English. The AAPPL is an assessment of standards-based language learning across the three modes of communication (Interpersonal, Presentational, and Interpretive) as defined by the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning. The AAPPL assesses Interpersonal Listening/Speaking, Presentational Writing, Interpretive Reading, and Interpretive Listening, and serves as the method of language certification for some students pursuing the Seals of Biliteracy.

The AAPPL is delivered over the internet, under proctored conditions, and requires that each candidate have headphones with a microphone. There are three forms of the AAPPL that assess different ranges of language ability. The AAPPL assesses the ability of a candidate to engage in linguistic tasks on topics of personal, social, and academic relevance across the three modes of communication. Each task, such as writing an email message, video-chatting in the target language, or making selections from something heard or read, takes place in school.

A single AAPPL Score, according to the ACTFL Performance Scale, is issued for each component of the test (Interpersonal Listening/Speaking, Presentational Writing, Interpretive Reading, and Interpretive Listening). Test takers receive a written AAPPL Score Report consisting of an AAPPL Score for each component, a brief narrative explaining each score, and recommendations for improvement. Official scoring is conducted by ACTFL Certified AAPPL raters.

For more information about the AAPPL, please visit Language Testing International, the organization that develops the assessment. 

We use the scores our students earn on the AAPPL to qualify them for the Seals of Biliteracy in many languages our students are learning at home. To learn more about our process, please visit the Seals of Biliteracy page