For this week’s Module, I am taking a look at an assessment I have created and used with my Spanish students to introduce themselves. Instead of assessing what they know through a multiple choice exam, I have my students create a presentation about themselves in Spanish. It’s a solo-project, where students have the opportunity to examine what they already know from Spanish level 1 and write out their answers in the target language. Upon doing so, they partner with another student to swap their writing samples and get peer feedback on their work. Their final assessment is to take the final written work and turn it into an oral presentation with a visual aide and introduce themselves to the class.
The following, on the left, are the written directions given to the students. On the right is the questionnaire that students fill out completely in Spanish and then get revised by a peer. And the last photograph is the template I use for grading the presentation.
The purpose of this assessment is to find out what students understand from their previous level one Spanish class, as well as see how well they can communicate in both written and oral formal.
The assumptions I have made about this assessment are that I thought, upon creating it, that it would be a different way to test students’ understanding of previous material (assessing prior knowledge). I also thought it’d be more interactive than doing a written examination and by allowing students an opportunity to get feedback from a peer, it would show students that they all make mistakes and allow them to practice their understanding by being the “teacher.”
Comparing this assessment to my previous post and what I believe in assessment, I think that this assessment goes along with the ideas that assessments should be:
- Relevant and engaging
- Provide feedback to get better.
- And that there is no “perfect” way to assess understanding.
I thought this form of assessment engaged my students and gave them a platform to share what they learned by presenting information about themselves to the class. It was laid out formally, but students had an opportunity to create a visual aide in a way that they wanted to and express themselves in the target language. Giving students the opportunity to give each other feedback and in a timely manner was also addressed in this assessment. And ultimately, I would’ve done another form of assessment, but this option allowed me to hear their oral skills as a Spanish speaker and see their written work as well — which shows a multifaceted learning approach.
Lorrie A. Shepard, in her article, “The Role of Assessment in a Learning Culture,” explained that historically assessment follows a behaviorist approach that teaching and testing and thus the learning behind it is sequenced and hierarchical, transfer is limited and motivation is external (Shepard, 2000. p. 5). She also explained that “tests should be used frequently to ensure mastery before proceeding to the next objective.”
I think that my assessment has some limitations in that it specifically guided my students to answer specific questions that I was looking for, but I feel that the format was not necessarily strictly repetitive or hierarchical because it gave students an opportunity to answer in their own format. Also, as a part of this assessment, their visual aide was differentiated and students were allowed to create a poster board or a Powerpoint presentation/google slide show to go along with their oral presentation. I also believe that this assessment gave students a “real world” scenario to work from where they had to orally introduce themselves to the class in the target language.
Overall, I think that this assessment was a good introduction to my current ability to create assessment, but I think that with taking CEP 813, I will have the opportunity to explore new options and make my assessments more engaging, creative and learning focused.
Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4-14.