Planning for Learning, Sp 1 Unit 4: En la escuela

Pushing Proficiency to Novice-High: Reworking the Stamp Sheet

Last night’s #langchat was about moving students from Novice-mid to Novice-high proficiency.   This topic was of particular interest to me because although I’ve read extensively about the proficiency levels, I haven’t had any formal training and it’s difficult for me to  distinguish between Novice-Mid, Novice-High, and Intermediate-Low.  Last night’s chat gave me a LOT to think about:

  • I need to think about students’ interpretive skills in proficiency terms.
  • To improve output, spend more time on input (so true!)
  • I need to define the proficiency levels better, for both myself and my students.

I wrote a few weeks ago about stamp sheets, and how checking off all the goals out loud and individually was making me crazy. So as I was writing my goals today for the unit I’ll begin next week, I decided to reorganize the sheet by modes, and throw in some proficiency descriptors to clarify my expectations to students.

Here’s the interpretive section:

School Unit Interpretive Goals
I think I’ll have students self-assess their proficiency a couple of times during the unit as we do reading and listening activities. I want them at least at Novice-Mid, and at Novice-High for an A.


And the presentational speaking/writing section:

School Unit Presentational Goals
I think I’ll assess these for a quiz grade. I’d like to give students the option to do it out loud or in writing.


I plan to use the same proficiency descriptors for IP speaking. Here’s the complete document: Modified stamp sheet

Proficiency teachers, what do you think?  Did I get the proficiency descriptors right? Should I add or delete anything from the description? Is there something else I could say to be more specific? I welcome your input.

4 thoughts on “Pushing Proficiency to Novice-High: Reworking the Stamp Sheet”

  1. Well, you asked for input. 😉 Just a few thoughts for you–

    How long have these kids had Spanish? If this is the first semester of Spanish 1, performing at novice mid may be a tall order. But we also have to distinguish between proficiency and performance – if they’re really good at this topic, they may be able to perform this task at novice high, even while their actual proficiency level is NM.

    Just something different I do with grading, kids have to exceed my expectations for an A. Meeting expectations is B and approaching is C. Anything lower is a re-do.

    On your interpretive goals, you might make reference in NM and NH to the topic, the way you did with NL. It’s good to push NH to get the main idea, but in reading they’ll still need a lot of context, maybe pictures or charts too. With listening it’s still a lot of one-phrase-at-a-time and then using their background knowledge to guess the main idea.

    On the stamp sheet, I’d add “supported by memorized language” even to the NH and also “basic” in front of connector words – NH can create in the sense that they’re reaching into IL but can’t sustain it, and part of that not sustaining it is that they usually are not creating. They’ll use basic connectors y, o, pero but anything beyond that is reaching to IL.

    Hope this helps and makes sense! And I hope I too am not on the wrong path with any of these tips! 😉

    1. Sara-Elizabeth, thank you so much for writing out this feedback! It does make sense – just what I was looking for in sharing the document. This is a learning process for me, and I appreciate your help so much!

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