Bienvenue Partie 2: Designing IPA’s for Novice Low Learners

bienvenue2 In conversations about Integrated Performance Assessments, my fellow teachers often share their concerns about using authentic texts with beginners. There seems to be a widespread belief that true beginners cannot derive meaning from texts created by native speakers for native speakers. I hope that these assessments, which will be implemented during the unit I shared in yesterday’s post, will demonstrate that even Novice Low learners can read and listen to authentic texts when the tasks are designed to correspond to their proficiency level.

As I explained in yesterday’s post, I created two separate IPA’s for this unit.  As often happens in real-life school settings, instructional decision-making is influenced by many factors.  Because this unit will not yet be completed before the interim progress report grades are due, I prepared a short IPA to be administered after about three weeks of instruction.  This assessment will provide information to my students and their families regarding their ability to use their brand-new language skills in an authentic context.

IPA #1 (Revised 9/14/2015)

As you can see, I did not follow the exact order (Interpretive-Interpersonal-Presentational) that is recommended in designing IPA’s.  In this case I used an alternative format to better meet the context of the assessments, which was a visit to a Francophone school.  Therefore, in this IPA the students will first listen to an authentic video about holidays and then read an article about France from an authentic children’s magazine (Les Pays…08082015) Next, they will respond to a note from a student in the class.  Lastly, they will answer the school secretary’s questions.  Although all of my previous IPA’s have incorporated student- to-student interaction for the interpersonal task, I will play the role of the school secretary in this instance, as the Novice Low ACTFL Can-Do’s reflect the students’ ability to introduce themselves at this level, but not to interview others. This is the “secretary’s” script:


Comment ça va?

Tu t’appelles comment?

Comment ça s’écrit ?

Tu as quel âge ?

Quelle est la date de ton anniversaire?

Merci, Bonne journée.

Au revoir.

IPA #2 (Note: the video used for the listening assessment is no longer available, but a search on “Mes fournitures scolaires” on Youtube might provide a similar video.)

In this summative assessment for the unit, I continued the context by explaining that the students were now preparing for their first day of school in their temporary home in Morocco.  Before the first day they will 1)Read the school’s list of required supplies (Interpretive Reading), 2) Listen to a video in which a student presents her school supplies (Interpretive Listening), 3) Discuss their school supplies with a neighbor (Interpersonal Communication) and 4) Make a list of school supplies they need to buy (Presentational Writing).

French 1 Unit 1 Formatives

As shown in the tentative agenda I included in yesterday’s post, I will administer a quick formative assessment after each lesson.  These quizzes are designed to assess the extent to which the students are able to identify new vocabulary words.  Any student who is not successful on any of these quizes will be given an opportunity to receive additional instruction and retake the assessment. As with the first IPA, the red text is teacher script and will not appear in the student copy.

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40 thoughts on “Bienvenue Partie 2: Designing IPA’s for Novice Low Learners

  1. Stephanie

    Thank you so much for sharing such detailed lessons. You are so generous with your ideas. I plan on incorporating many of your activities from your Bienvenue Novice-low IPA into my beginning of the year 6th grade class. You are an awesome person to learn about IPAs from!!

  2. madameshepard Post author

    I’ve updated the first IPA to include the correct questions for the interpretive reading. Thanks for your patience and I apologize for my error!

  3. Denise Wagstaff

    Hi Lisa,

    When you administer an IPA, such as this one, do students have access to the interpretive listening and reading when they are completing the speaking and writing tasks? My instinct would be to not let them use either, as I would want to see what they know without support in front of them, but I am not sure if this is in line with the IPA philosophy or not. I am planning on using some of your second IPA with my French 1’s and want to make sure I do it right. Merci!


    1. madameshepard Post author

      It depends. For this one, I definitely wouldn’t let them have the resources. For an AP level IPA, I want then to incorporate into from the authentic source in their writing, Does this make sense?

  4. Denise Wagstaff

    I’m sorry for asking so many questions, but I have dipped into both your lessons and your IPA #2 for my first novice unit. How do you grade the interpretive section? Did you use the ACTFL or another rubric and/or did you devise another grading method? I am particularly overwhelmed by this part of the IPA, as I have always scored listening and reading by points, not with a rubric. Thanks for any insight you can give!

      1. sarah

        I can’t find it online (je suis nulle avec le site)…any chance you have a link readily available that you could add here?

        1. madameshepard Post author

          Hi, Sarah. I’m sorry but I’m not sure which link you’re having trouble finding. The school supply one is no longer available–is that the one you’re having trouble with? Lisa

  5. Kerri

    First of all, I want to thank you for continuing to show me and others that this type of assessment is possible and helps transition the minds of our students to the “next level” higher order thinking. I had to chuckle last week, when my 7th graders took your 1st IPA for this unit. Asking a 7th grader to infer is above their heads , at least what I see amongst my students. I’m guessing that their minds have been trained for “black/white” answers. Many of them were able to conform their thinking, especially when it came to the map. It did take them 3 days to take this type of exam. I am on lesson 8 and 9 and will be giving the second IPA as I believe that they are capable of meeting those standards. I am a big advocate for analyzing and working up the ladder. So, this type of assessment does just that. As I try to turn to this style full year, I will be reverting to some of my chapter assessment from last year as I try to create at least half of the amazing work that you have accomplished and shared. Thank you again.

  6. MlleT

    Bonjour! Do you by chance have another link to the video included in section two of IPA B? It’s supposed to be of a girl talking about her school supplies, but the link to YouTube no longer works. 🙁

    1. Julie Mortine

      Bonjour! I also have the same question. Do you know if this video still exists? Also, I LOVE your posts and use a lot of the things you create. You have saved my lesson on many occasions, so I THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Oops, looks like it’s missing. I think I just greeted them, asked how they were, asked for their name, how to spell it, and what their phone number was.

  7. Patricia Clavijo

    Happy Summer Lisa,
    You are my main resource (along with Keys) to transform my curriculum this summer. Thank you for the work you share, it is so awesome.
    I was reading through your first IPA and was wondering about your Cultural Comparison Questions in which you ask students to think about why the US has one official language whereas other countries have many. There actually is no official language in the US. So ,maybe that could also lead to an interesting line of inquiry.

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Patricia Thanks so much for the correction and the useful link! I’ve just begun reading the Keys myself. Are you going to participate in the Google Hangout book discussion?

  8. Laurie Van Houten


    I dabbled in IPAs last yer and am planning on doing much more this fall. In looking at the novice-low bienvenue unit, IPA 1, I noticed there is no link for the interpretive reading that you give (children’s book). Do you have a link or the name of the book so I can find it?

    Also, do you give any old-fashioned spelling vocabulary quizzes anymore? If not, are your kids spelling well?

    Laurie Van Houten

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Laurie! There should be a link to the book pages in the body of the post. Let me know if you have trouble finding it! Lisa

  9. sally

    Hello again!
    For IPA #2, is it possible to send the link for the school supply video? It no longer exists and then I get the “expired token” message when I try the link in your Slideshow.

    Any idea if maybe this video could be sent to me via email 🙂

    thank you so very much for your help, Lisa!

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Sorry about the video, but I don’t have a copy. I’m sure you could find one quickly by searching “Mes Fournitures scolaires” on Youtube. I wish I could be more helpful! Lisa

  10. Kristina Jones

    I like to add different songs with this wonderful IPA unit that you have prepared. Have you heard of the song called “Salutations” on a Putymayo CD? I introduce numbers 1-10 first and then we sing this song. Email me if you would like the lyrics (I had to type them out because I couldn’t find them online already).

  11. Sarah

    Thank you for the rubric for interpretational reading!!! (For the first novice low IPA) You replied again saying you were providing links to interpersonal and interpretational listening, but there aren’t any linked documents? Not sure if tech is failing me or you…

  12. Sally Worsham

    Bonjour, Madame! I have been using this unit with my French 1 classes, and I am planning to start the first IPA this Thursday. I am having a hard time finding the note from the classmate for the Presentational Writing task. Did I miss a link? If you could direct me to this, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Thank you as always for sharing your hard work that is revolutionizing French teaching across the country (and world)!

    1. Sally Worsham

      I found the note & figured out what my problem was. For some reason, the note did not show up on the page when I converted the file to a Google Doc. Thank you again for your inspiration.

      1. madameshepard Post author

        Thanks for letting me know– I hadn’t quite gotten to “Respond to blog comments” yet on my To Do list!

  13. Mme M.

    Thank you so much again for sharing your wonderful work! I was searching for another video to use in place of the one about “Les fournitures scolaires” on the summative assessment and I found this one (I’m only planning to use the first 3 minutes or so). I haven’t made any questions yet, but I will plan to share that once I do create something. Here is the link:


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