What we assess and how we assess it should change depending on the kind of information we need and the person who will be using the information. When designing an assessment tool, think about these questions:

1) For what purpose am I gathering this information?
2) What kind of information do I need to gather in order to accomplish my purpose?
3) What will I need to assess in order to gather the information I need while simultaneously improving performance?
4) Who will be using this information? Who else will have access to the information?
5) What form(s) will feedback need to take in order to communicate the information to relevant stakeholders while simultaneously improving performance?
6) Will this assessment give students opportunities to showcase what they CAN do for authentic audiences and purposes?
7) Is this assessment activity intrinsically motivating--is it something students will want to do for its own sake?

Why do we assess students' learning?
Purpose of Feedback
Type of Information
Implications for Assessment
Help them evaluate their progress and improve their performance
Comments that offer specific next steps for improving performance
Move away from single grades toward rubrics, individual comments and/or conferences, and peer evaluation. Encourage authentic assessment for real audiences and purposes, multiple drafts, self-evaluation, and portfolio-based assessment.
What questions do you have?
Communicate information to them about the progress of their children and assist them in helping their children improve their performance
Information re: student strengths as well as weaknesses, plus easy-to-implement, concrete suggestions for how parents can help (with examples and models when possible)
Move away from single grades toward rubrics, public displays/performances of work, and student-led parent conferences.

Help them evaluate their own teaching and make better instructional decisions that will better support students' learning
Information about patterns in student performance, information about the ways in which particular instructional strategies produce patterns in student behavior, engagement, and performance
Teachers need opportunities to videotape themselves, to examine student work together, and to develop systematic procedures for collecting data about students, as well as feedback from students.

Help them evaluate and improve programs
Information about patterns in student performance across different instructors, feedback from stakeholders re: perceived strengths and weaknesses of the program, the curriculum, instructional techniques, etc.
Some common assignments or exit performances are necessary. Clear procedures for how data will be gathered, analyzed, and shared must be implemented. Regular conversations among department members and administrators are necessary.

Help them evaluate and develop policies that will better support teaching and learning
Information about the characteristics of effective world language programs and the response of stakeholders to various policies that have been implemented
Curriculum, funding, and policy decisions should be based on accurate data collected from all relevant stakeholders that includes attitudinal, behaviorall, and performance-based data.