Thursday, April 26, 2012

Help Desk Helpers - Part Two

Ever wondered who is on the other end of the line when you contact the WIDA Help Desk?  In last week's post, you met Michelle.  This week, meet the rest of the WIDA Help Desk staff. You'll  learn about some of the common questions that the Help Desk receives and the WIDA states they would most like to visit.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Introducing the Help Desk Staff

Hi, dear readers! Thanks for stopping by the WIDA Blog. I’m Michelle and what’s on tap for this and some future blog entries is an introduction to the Help Desk at WIDA. The Help Desk addresses your concerns and questions, provides you with log in information, and talks you through testing procedures. If you’ve never contacted us, you’re missing out—we’re awesome!  A common misconception we hear is that we’re housed in a giant corporate office full of cubicles with dozens of people (picture the AT&T call center), but we’re really just six people who

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Using Rubrics and Checklists for Language Proficiency Assessments

Teachers often tell me that one of the trickiest aspects of designing classroom-based assessments is to identify what we want to assess and then how to document it. 
Recently I blogged about common assessments and ELLs.  In that post, I mentioned that there are two main types of assessments for ELLs –assessments that measure academic content knowledge and assessments that document language proficiency.  So as we design our assessments we need to ask ourselves “Am I assessing my students’ knowledge of the content or their ability to speak/read/write about this topic?”  

Most school districts have multiple assessments for academic content knowledge.  Typically there is a district assessment plan or schedule that details when and how often to give various content assessments.  End of the unit assessments, quarterly or semester assessments and yearly assessments of content knowledge are set. 
But what about assessing our students’ language proficiency? 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spanish teachers – check out the new Continuos del Desarrollo Lingüístico (SLD Standards)

Two years of hard work are paying off and everyone (consortium and non-consortium members) will be able to reap the benefits soon.   

So what is SALSA? It is a collaborative project between the Illinois State Board of Education, WIDA and the Center for Applied Linguistics.   It stands for Spanish Academic Language Standards and Assessment.  As the name implies, there are two parts to the project.  The first part has