Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Día 128 - Quizzes

I don't think I've talked much about assessment yet this year.  The problem is I don't really know yet how to create a wonderful summative assessment tool.  I have so far decided to use formative assessments.  For those of you not familiar with the terms...

A summative assessment is basically the assessment we do that shows the students have learned from the unit, such as a test, a paper, or a presentation.  It's a big assessment.

A formative assessment is what we use along the way to track the students' progress so we can possibly help them before the summative assessment (test, paper, presentation).  These could be quizzes, worksheets, classwork, or anything that gives the teacher an idea of how the students are progressing with the material.

Well, I really like the formative assessments.  I am the foreign language department at my small rural school.  As a result, I haven't been too worried about creating massive tests for my students.  Instead, I have been giving 3-5 point quizzes constantly.  I try to do at least 2-3 a week when possible.  This is so I can constantly chart the students progress.  Another formative assessment in TPRS are the writing assignments for students to write in the language.  This has proven helpful to see how students are doing as well.

I like these assessments because they are realistic and as I chart my students' progress, I am able to go back and help on things that they aren't quite grasping yet.  The silly thing is that the quizzes I give are over the stories that we talk about in class.  As a result, the quizzes are so silly because our stories are often silly.  This also helps the students to succeed on the quizzes because they are able to remember more pointless information such as the names of silly characters or why they looked weird or what their problem was.  The best part though is that it's sneaky teaching because they think that the quiz is incredibly easy and forget for a moment that the whole thing is in Spanish.

I love when students tell me that a quiz was easy.  That means they were paying attention to the meaning (and not worrying about the language which is naturally being acquired).

I should do a few summative assessments though throughout the year.  I hope to worry more about that next year.  This year I might try and give a test over the main structures and some other vocabulary we've gone over to make sure they're getting it.  But the quizzes reflect the learning from the students and that's good enough for me to defend myself.

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