Washoe Country School District

July 26, 2014

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These three instruments allow ESL teachers to find students’ current skill levels, determine target skills, and observe progress in language. They are to be given three times a year.
1. The SOPA (Student Oral Proficiency Assessment) rubric is used to assess oral language in the classroom. Although there may be times when it is appropriate to pull the student and do a 5-10 minute interview, it is less disruptive if the interview can be embedded in the instruction. To do this, choose a part of a lesson where the teacher can interact with the student for a few minutes, and ask follow up questions to try to push to the student’s language ceiling. Lessons that work well for this include guided reading, writer’s workshop, or any lesson where students are explaining their thinking. To the student, this should feel like a conversation rather than a test. Do these mini-interviews on at least two different topics (you can do them on different days). Choose topics that the student has background knowledge of, otherwise the student will not be able to reach the language ceiling. Using the SOPA rubric, what is the student’s developmental stage of oral language?
2. The QSI (Qualitative Spelling Inventory) analyzes student spelling to determine the level of written word knowledge. Using the QSI, what is the student’s developmental stage for word study?
3. The OPAWS (Oral Proficiency and Word Study) aligns the SOPA and QSI results. Generally, oral language develops earlier than written word knowledge, so there could be a lag. The OPAWS reveals the size of the lag. The presence of a lag is not a concern; however, if that lag gets bigger through the year, that could be an indication that literacy skills are not developing as quickly as oral skills. In this case, there should be a discussion about what kinds of instruction might help this student accelerate the development of literacy skills. See the following link: http://www.washoecountyschools.net/wcsdvideo/video.php?video_id=000022.
For more information, contact Pete Cobin, ESL Elementary Program Coordinator, pcobin@washoe.k12.nv.us.

SOPA Jr. Advanced Sublevels-paragraph: http://www.washoe.k12.nv.us/docs/student-support-services/english-language-learners/SOPA_paragraphs_(blue).pdf

SOPA Jr. Intermediate Sublevels-sentence: http://www.washoe.k12.nv.us/docs/student-support-services/english-language-learners/SOPA_sentences_(green).pdf

SOPA Jr. Novice Sublevels-words, phrases: http://www.washoe.k12.nv.us/docs/student-support-services/english-language-learners/SOPA_words_phrases_(yellow).pdf

SOPA video: http://www.washoecountyschools.net/wcsdvideo/video.php?video_id=000022