Report from the Field – Jen Schongalla

In recent “we really do work for robots” news, Jen reports: 

Our school is starting a new initiative with competency based grading and common assessments. While the initiative largely does not affect me (only math, science, English, Social Studies), we are undergoing a process of rewriting all of our course competencies.

This is great news! The current ones for me are each and every one of the 5 Cs but broken down so that there are like a million competencies. Ugh! I just check the boxes and do my thing.

For the new and improved CI competencies I am nesting all the ACTFL Cs into Communication. My current competencies are “interpersonal communication”  “interpretive listening” and “interpretive reading.” That’s it. I wrote up general descriptions of these based on my actual assessment rubrics. I wrote them up generally so that they could be adapted to each level. The PE teacher did this with her standards and that was fine (i.e., she did not have separate competencies for different “levels”).

The competencies were deemed incomplete. Here is the email I received today:

Good morning,

Sorry for the late reply. The short answer to your question is that yes, you can write your own competencies and rubrics for world language. I am not quite sure what you mean by “outside the scope of the other subjects” as each subject has their own competencies. They need to be in line with state requirements however as far as standards go. It’s hard to see where you are at with your competencies currently because the google chart is not completed and they seem to be a list of statements rather than complete competencies. Could you perhaps send an example of what you WANT them to look like so we can get a better understanding?

Then I responded:

Ok. The competencies as they are written in the form are the competencies I observe and assess. I observe interpersonal skills in interactive contexts, and then interpretive skills in reading and listening. I am not sure how to make them “complete.”

Should I fill them out using more of a proficiency chart?

For example:  Interpersonal Novice Low:  student tracks the speaker and responds to questions nonverbally or with a one word answer in Spanish.


I meant that they are written more like a list. Take a look at the other competencies for different course and you will see what I mean.

Proficiencies are a whole other topic that will look into later as I think many of us want them.

I then spent most of my prep writing out basic descriptors from ACTFL for each level from Novice Low to Intermediate Low (Interpersonal, Interpretive Listening, Interpretive reading).

Then I got this response:

I think I see where you are going with them but I think it might help to meet at some point soon.

Honestly I do not care about this. I thought I did, because I thought this was an opportunity to create a full on CI program in this district. And it is indeed that. I’m basically doing that anyway, since I am the only Spanish teacher. The French teacher is not “CI” strictly but close enough for me. We are on the same page philosophically but she does a few things differently. She is retiring at the end of the year. And I was / am(?) excited to put this out there in written form and really claim WL depot. as CI including the assessments and the multi-levels and go at your own pace. It totally aligns with what’s happening in the middle school ELA program (attended a meeting last week about that…so exciting to hear they do all of our cool stuff and kids are thriving.)

But I just returned from a union meeting and found out this place is truly imploding in a way that I am not sure I want to stick around (middle school students assaulting and bullying teachers with no consequences…stuff like that). Feeling kinda deflated by all the negativity.

Going to go about my business and create my lil CI space of joy and fun! OY!



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