Language Performance Standards
From APEC HRDWG Wiki
Language Performance Standards establish general requirements by which student performance is assessed. They describe the types of performance to be judged (e.g., speaking, writing, reading, conversing, answering questions orally or in writing) and the parameters to be used (e.g., a five-minute presentation of a poem that the student has memorized from a list of poetry appropriate for fourth-grade students). They also determine how many categories of scores will result from assessments, what those categories will be called (e.g., below basic, basic, proficient and advanced), and where the "cut scores" (the places in the continuum of scores where one category ends and another begins) will be set. Language Performance Standards are used along with Language Content Standards to guide the development of Language Assessments and to provide the basis for Language Curriculum and Instruction. They must be consistent with the Language Policies of the economy or its subordinate province or state.
In its online glossary, the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, & Student Testing (CRESST) at the University of California,Los Angeles, defines "performance standards" as:
Explicit definitions of what students must do to demonstrate proficiency at a specific level on the content standards. For example, the performance level "exceptional achievement" on a dimension "communication of ideas" is reached when the student examines the problem from several different positions and provides adequate evidence to support each position.
CRESST goes on to relate content and performance standards, assessment, and instruction through the concept of "alignment," which it defines as:
The process of linking content and performance standards to assessment, instruction, and learning in classrooms. One typical alignment strategy is the step-by-step development of (a) content standards, (b) performance standards, (c) assessments, and (d) instruction for classroom learning. Ideally, each step is informed by the previous step or steps, and the sequential process is represented as follows: Content Standards - Performance Standards - Assessments - Instruction for Learning In practice, the steps of the alignment process will overlap. The crucial question is whether classroom teaching and learning activities support the standards and assessments. System alignment also includes the link between other school, district, and state resources. Alignment supports the goals of the standards, i.e., whether professional development priorities and instructional materials are linked to what is necessary to achieve the standards.
As Robert Linn has noted in a technical report (Robert Linn, “Issues in the Design of Accountability Systems” CSE Technical Report 650, April 2005):
Approaches to reporting achievement test results that were used in the past, such as national percentile ranks, scale, grade-equivalent, or normal-curve equivalent scores, ...[have] generally been replaced by standards-based score reports that present results in terms of percentages of students in performance categories, e.g., below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced. Alternatively, or in addition, percentages of students who score above a given level (e.g., proficient or above) may be reported. The switch to performance standards as a reporting mechanism was motivated by the desire to go beyond normative statements about performance to answer the question: how good is good enough? These performance standards had several common properties. They were absolute rather than normative. They were set in a context that called for ambitious, “world-class” standards, and they divided the range of student achievement on an assessment into a relatively small number (typically 4) of categories. Finally, they were expected to apply to all, or nearly all, students.
The APEC Seminar on Standards for English and Other Languages focused on performance standards. The seminar, held in Chinese Taipei at Ming Chuan University in December 2007, was designed to (1) analyse and compare the language learning standards being used in APEC economies; and (2) work toward reaching an agreement on common standards, as well as the best practices to promote them.