G. Assessing Student Performance

A. Goals of Waldsee Credit Villager Assessment:

  • To provide villager and villager’s parents/guardians, teacher, and school with performance feedback and meaningful information about credit learning experience

  • To reflect both village-wide and village-specific language and culture learning priorities (e.g., emphasis on speaking/listening skills) and instructional practices (villager-centered and village-centered)

  • To view the assessment experience as an ongoing and useful component of the learning process rather than an end in itself

  • To include the villager, his/her peers, and other staff members in the feedback/assessment loop

  • To support the program’s proficiency-oriented curricular and instructional goals

  • To demonstrate what the villager can do with language

The proficiency-oriented nature of the Waldsee Credit Program lends itself well to more alternative, performance-based assessment techniques. Over the past couple of years we have developed rubrics to more clearly communicate our expectations with the villagers and the credit teaching staff. The sample rubric provided at the end of this section (rubric for program participation) can give you an idea of program practice.

Waldsee places an emphasis on creating opportunities for listening and speaking with a lesser amount of time devoted to reading and writing. Consider a ratio of 60:40. For individual assessment of villager performance you may include (without being limited to) the following:

  • Pre- and post-assessment instruments (oral and written)

  • Participation in village-wide program and in class (emphasis on engagement and oral language use)

  • Village Project Portfolio

  • Journal

  • Assignments (homework, project updates, etc.)

  • Exams, Quizzes

We will discuss assessment and grading issues at orientation. Since teaching and learning styles, levels, and curriculum contents differ between classes and teachers, we will be flexible with regard to assessment. It is our goal that you as a teacher use and feel comfortable an assessment that accurately reflects villager learning in allprogram areas.

B. Assessment Examples

Going back to the travel example in the “Theme” section of this handbook, this is an example of authentic assessment that would be an integrated part of the credit villager’s experience in the Waldsee program.

i. Assessment goal: Can credit villagers successfully buy a train ticket?

1. Create a checklist of required elements for the conversation

____Use appropriate question words (wieviel, wann, usw.) ____Use appropriate sentence structure (word order) ____Use appropriate vocabulary ____Use formal “Sie”____ Successful in buying tickets

2. Allow students to practice conversation.

3. Set up simulated train ticket buying experience.

4. Use checklist to assess the credit villager’s performance.

5. Other situations in Waldsee to which this type of assessment can be easily adapted:

  • Can a credit villager successfully withdraw money from the bank?

  • Can a credit villager successfully purchase items at the store or at the kiosk?

  • Does a credit villager meal time vocabulary?

  • Does a credit villager use the daily patterns and vocabulary from the Waldsee Village Curriculum?

ii. Assessment goal: Can credit villagers demonstrate cultural knowledge of practices related to travel?

1. Have students take 5-10 minutes to write down their impressions of how they would plan on getting from point A to point B in the US. Then have them apply their knowledge and assumptions to write down their impressions of how Germans would approach traveling from point A to point B. This could also be an in class or out of class assignment or an entry in the credit villagers’ journals.

2. Have a class discussion that seeks to summarize the cultural and practical aspects of travel in Germany as compared to travel in the US.

C. What Counts as Credit? In order to get credit for this program, the credit villagers need to receive 180 hours of instruction. This is not all going to happen in the classroom setting. With that in mind, the following lists the periods of the day during which hours are counted toward the total number of hours needed for credit. Villagers should be made aware that their participation in all aspects of the program is expected, and that it will contribute to their final grade. Following this list there is a rubric that helps credit teacher evaluate villager participation in all aspects of the program. The rubric is meant to serve as a guideline that can be adapted to individual village circumstances.

Unterricht/Tagesthemen/Arbeitsgruppen (Class time): Four daily periods (a total of four hours)—three of these four thematically-based language and culture learning experiences take place each day and villagers are grouped according to their overall proficiency level (class size is typically between 5-8 villagers) and instructed by their classroom teacher. A fourth one-hour period offers villagers a week-long opportunity to explore a variety of thematically-oriented topics such as Politics in Germany, Life in Berlin, and German Pop Music. For this period villagers are grouped across language levels based on their particular interests.

Gesang (Time to sing!): 30-45 minutes a day—an integral part of the credit program and community life at Waldsee. Gesang helps to develop listening comprehension, aural, and pronunciation skills. Villagers learn a wide variety of songs representative of German, Swiss and Austrian cultures and dialects to assist in the development of a deeper appreciation for German-speaking cultures and their history. An effort is made to teach both traditional and folk songs as well as some of the more recent pop music. During this time villagers also learn idioms and proverbs introduced through villager-led skits.

Mahlzeiten (Mealtimes): 1.5 hours per day is devoted to mealtimes—Breakfast, Lunch, and the evening meal are important opportunities for German table conversation. Each food item for each meal is introduced with a meal presentation or skit and all villagers are expected to use only German when requesting food at the table. Meals are always followed by a series of general announcements that take place exclusively in the target language. Often the focus of the day reflects a particular cultural orientation (e.g. Schweizer Tag [Swiss Day]) and on that day a native speaker typically translates announcements into the regional dialect so that students are introduced to a variety of dialects throughout the four weeks.

Veranstaltungen (Activity Periods): One hour a day—credit villagers choose from a variety of activities offered each day. Culturally-authentic activities conducted in the target language provide villagers task-based opportunities to revisit the broader village curriculum, and credit villagers are expected to use German while participating in the activity. Their participation in activity periods is evaluated by the staff member in a manner decided by the credit facilitator.

Zeit mit der Hausgruppe (Time with your house group): In their role as both house counselor and teacher, staff are responsible for providing villagers with the necessary language for general household tasks and community living. Hausgespräch (as it is called in some programs) or Hausrat (cabin council) is a time for villagers to establish in-house rules and to discuss a variety of health/home-related topics.

Lernzeit (Evening Learning Center): At least one hour per day (either in the late afternoon or after the evening meal)—a monitored learning center is offered generally three times each week in the evening and villagers are able to choose to work on individual projects of their choosing. The focus of the learning centers complements the study needs of the villagers and typically includes a portfolio/project area, a writing area, a quiet reading area, and a language structure area.

Abendprogramm (Evening Program): Evening programs offer villagers an alternative to Lernzeit 2-4 times each week. Themes/topics vary and depend on the interest and expertise of the staff and the age/ developmental level of the villagers. Some evening programs involve the entire village; others are designed for the individual houses or a specific group within the program such as a separate credit evening program. Some examples include a political simulation, a murder mystery role-play, or an evening out on the town where villagers eat at a restaurant and then visit a disco.

D. Multitrait Rubric for Program Participation