Building new rubrics with the 3 modes-One of our 2010-2011 goals

What are the three 3 Modes of Communication?

Interpersonal Mode: Two-way oral or written communication which is spontaneous and unrehearsed, and characterized by active negotiation of meaning among individuals involved.

Interpretive Mode: Comprehension of written, oral, and/or visual communication, including embedded cultural perspectives, without the ability to negotiate meaning with the creator of the message.

Presentational Mode: Spoken or written communication prepared for an audience and rehearsed, revised or edited before presentation.

We will be exploring and designing new rubrics aligned with the standards using the three modes of communication.

ACTFL Performance Guidelines for World Languages
World Languages Resources for K-12 Teachers and Parents
How well does the student understand? As important as it is to identify "what" (content) students should learn, it is equally important do determine "how well" students are communicating in the second language (performance). Both national and state standards emphasize performance in the second language and ask these questions:
  • How well is the student understood?
  • How well does the student understand?
  • How accurate is the student's language?
  • How well does the student use vocabulary?
  • How well does the student use cultural knowledge when using the second language?
  • How well does the student maintain communication?

For rating students‟ performance in the three communicative modes, the ACTFL K-12 Performance Guidelines (1998) provide detailed criteria for three levels of proficiency—Novice, Intermediate, and Pre-Advanced. Aligned with the original ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and additionally based on the student content standards, they describe what language users can do, and how well they can do it, at each of the three levels, within each of the three communicative modes.
The criteria used in assigning a rating to examinees are:

  • Comprehensibility: How well do they make themselves understood? (in assessments of Interpersonal or Presentational communication)
  • Comprehension: How well do they understand? (in assessments of Interpersonal interaction or of their ability to interpret oral or written texts)
  • Language Control: How accurate is their language? (in all three modes, both when interpreting language and producing it) This category includes control of grammatical structures, syntactical sophistication, pronunciation accuracy in oral assessments, and spelling and punctuation in writing assessments.
  • Vocabulary Use: How extensive and applicable is their vocabulary? (in all three modes)
  • Communication Strategies: How do they maintain communication? (in all three modes) Examples are asking for clarification, checking comprehension, paraphrasing, circumlocuting, looking or listening for key ideas, inferring meaning, using notes and visuals appropriately in oral presentations, and using a dictionary effectively.
  • Cultural Awareness: How is their cultural understanding reflected in their communication? (in assessments in all three modes)

Communicative Modes in detail

Interpersonal Mode
The Interpersonal Mode is characterized by active negotiation of meaning among individuals. Participants observe and monitor one another to see how their meaning and intentions are being communicated. Adjustments and clarifications can be made accordingly. As a result, there is a higher probability of ultimately achieving the goal of successful communication in this mode than in the other two modes. The Interpersonal Mode is most obvious in conversation, but both the interpersonal and negotiated dimensions can be realized through reading and writing, such as the exchange of personal letters or electronic mail messages.

Learn more/see examples of the Interpersonal mode

Interpersonal examples
  1. Exchange information via letters, e-mail/video mail, notes, conversations or interviews on familiar topics (e.g., school events, weekend activities, memorable experiences, family life).
  2. Express and compare opinions and preferences about information gathered regarding events, experiences and other school subjects.
  3. Clarify meaning (e.g., paraphrasing, questioning).
  4. Give and follow directions, instructions and requests (e.g., installing software, dance steps).
  5. Demonstrate the ability to acquire goods, services or information (e.g., using public transportation, making a hotel reservation, buying food).

Interpretive Mode
The Interpretive Mode is focused on the appropriate cultural interpretation of meanings that occur in written and spoken form where there is no recourse to the active negotiation of meaning with the writer or the speaker. Such instances of “one-way” reading or listening include the cultural interpretation of texts, oral or written, must be distinguished from the notion of reading and listening “comprehension,” where the term could refer to understanding a text with an American mindset. Put another way, interpretation differs from comprehension in that the former implies the ability to “read (or listen) between the lines.”
Since the Interpretive Mode does not allow for active negotiation between the reader and the writer or the listener and the speaker, it requires a much more profound knowledge of culture from the outset. The more one knows about the other language and culture, the greater the chances of creating the appropriate cultural interpretations of a written or spoken text. It must be noted, however, that cultural literacy and the ability to read or listen between the lines are developed over time and through exposure to the language and culture.

Learn more/see examples of the Interpretive mode

Interpretive examples
  1. Follow directions, instructions and requests (e.g., recipes, travel directions, prompts on ATMs).
  2. Use listening and reading strategies (e.g., skimming and scanning techniques) to determine main ideas and purpose.

Presentational Mode
The Presentational Mode refers to the creation of messages in a manner that facilities interpretation by members of the other culture where no direct opportunity for active negotiation of meaning between members of the two cultures exists. Examples of the “one-way” writing and speaking require a substantial knowledge of language and culture from the outset, since the goal is to make sure that members of the other culture, the audience, will be successful in reading and listening between the lines.

Learn more/see examples of the Presentational mode

Presentational examples
  1. Summarize information from authentic language materials and artifacts (e.g., TV programs, articles from youth magazines, Internet, videos, currency) and give personal reactions.
  2. Use information acquired from target language sources to solve everyday problems and situations (e.g., using a newspaper to make plans to see a movie, perusing a catalog to shop for a birthday gift, watching a weather forecast to help plan an activity).
  3. Create and present a narrative (e.g., current events, personal experiences, school happenings).
  4. Present differences in products and practices (e.g., sports, celebrations, school life) found in the target culture.
  5. Prepare and deliver a summary of characters and plot in selected pieces of literature.
  6. Apply age-appropriate writing process strategies (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing).

National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project (2006). Standards for foreign language learning in the 21st century. Lawrence, KS: Allen Press, Inc. pp. 36-38.
Ohio Foreign Language Standards

Fundamentals of Language Teaching Methods

NJ Consortium for Assessing Performance Standars

Integrated Performance Assessments
Source: Laura Terrill


Rubrics information from Australia

Rubric links

FLENJ (Foreign Language Education in New Jersey) CAPS Rubrics

Consortium for Assessing Performance Standards Rubrics-FLENJ Rubrics

By clicking on the links below you can access the rubrics that were created by the CAPS project. The rubrics that are found here were developed during the three years of this project and are based on the ACTFL Performance Guidelines for K-12 Learners. The criteria listed in each rubric come directly from the Guidelines. At the novice and intermediate level an attempt has been made to use student-friendly language. Thus, the criteria have been re-stated in terms of a question that the student would ask him/herself while completing the assessment task. At the pre-advanced level, the language of the rubrics closely corresponds to the language in the Guidelines. By the time students reach this level, they have had extensive experience with the novice and intermediate rubrics so that they are ready to understand the criteria as defined by professionals in the field. These generic rubrics were used by teachers as they wrote their own task-specific rubrics.
Interpersonal Speaking Rubric
Presentational Writing Rubric
Interpretive – Novice
Interpretive – Intermediate
Interpretive – Pre-advanced
Interpersonal – Novice
Interpersonal – Intermediate
Interpersonal – Pre-advanced
Presentational – Novice
Presentational Speaking – Novice
Presentational Writing – Novice
Presentational – Intermediate
Presentational – Pre-advanced