Yesterday we began the “9 weeks evaluation” in Spanish two and three. There will be four parts to the evaluation – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The evaluation will take two days. Day 1 was dedicated to the speaking section. The speaking evaluation is interpersonal. There will be no presentational speaking required for this assessment. This 9 weeks evaluation is designed to measure skills and not merely information.
The best way to conduct an interpersonal assessment would be to individually interview each student. However, we do not have near enough time for that. The best alternative I’ve come up with so far is to utilize the Conversations program that is part of Michigan State’s CLEAR website.
Conversations allows me to conduct a video interview with students. I record myself asking questions. When students log on, they hear my questions and answer in real time. They must be at a computer with a web cam and a microphone. My questions were:
1. What is the day, date and weather?
2. What did you do yesterday?
3. What are you going to do during Spring Break?
4. Think of a TV program or movie you have seen recently and describe it. What happened in the program? Did you like it?
5. Choose one set of pictures and describe it. (I included printouts of four storyboards of pictures).
* I used the same video interview for levels 2 and 3. Because the questions are open-ended (especially #4 and #5), there is space for students at different levels to demonstrate proficiency.
*Vocabulary is important, but I didn’t want a few specific terms to hinder my evaluation of a student’s proficiency. For this reason, students were given options for speaking.
*In my written and spoken directions, I made it clear that the goal was to demonstrate ample use of language. Simple answers would complete the assignment but not earn maximum points. They saw the rubric before and during the evaluation.
*We completed the evaluation in class because I wanted to imitate conversation as much as possible. If students were to complete it at home, they would prepare for the questions and it would become presentational. A large room where students could spread out and all use perfectly functioning computers would have been ideal. I had to settle for the auditorium and a laptop cart with a few duds.
Overall, I am very pleased with the interviews. I was able to make an accurate evaluation of abilities. There were a few technical issues, but most interviews were completed without a problem. I was impressed by many of the students.