Living Tests

There are lots of ways to assess our students, but eventually we need to have a test in the grade book to establish some credibility. I wish that I didn’t even have to give grades, but it is apart of the educational system and in order to keep my job I must.

Today, I decided to give my students a test today. I don’t know what to call it, so I am going to call it a Living Test. Basically, it is like storytelling only they are taking a test. Here is what I did.

  1. Students get out a piece of paper and a pencil.
  2. I grab the last few stories that I have been working on with my students.
  3. I look at the stories and on the spot I write a sentence from the story or similar words in Spanish on my laptop. [I let the class choose what font and color they want] This appears on my smartboard [or is projected from an LCD]
  4. The students then a) Write the sentence in Spanish on the first line, b) Write the English translation on the second line, c) leave a space on the third line. We could also have the students draw a picture of the sentence I wrote, with captions.
  5. We repeat number 3 as I continue to add sentences to the test.  I try to keep the sentences of the test close to an interesting storyline.
  6. During the test as I am writing the examples, I ask the students for details. This makes them apart of the test and changes the test from strictly being regurgitation to a creative process.
  7. We go over it together and they grade their own paper with a blue pen. [If they “forget” the mark one wrong, it’s double off]

The Pros:

  • It requires no prep time.
  • Each test is customized to each class, making the process more fun.
  • Involves meaningful reading and writing in the target language.
  • I have a copy saved for any students that were absent.
  • It is a test that gives them choices in the details.
  • They grade them.
  • I am still giving the authorities what they want without sacrificing my personal time and creative energy.
  • It makes test taking a whole lot more fun, which is the bottom line.

I wish that we could get to a point where tests are celebrations of acquisition and knowledge rather than something that students dread. Maybe this will help students to get to this point.


1 Comment

Filed under Assessment

One response to “Living Tests

  1. Jim Tripp

    I would like to hear the caveats of this when you use it, as I foresee a couple in how I imagine it…

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