We began the speaking component of the final evaluation today.  Students must participate in an interview with me.  The interview is one quarter of the exam grade and is worth 25 points, which are divided equally among the following categories.

Quantity – amount of Spanish the student gets out

Vocabulary – correct word choice

Accuracy – correct verb usage and other grammar

Flow – smooth and natural speech


I gave very few instructions to students prior to the interviews.  They saw the rubric and knew that we would have a conversation in which I wanted them to show me how much Spanish they could speak.  They knew that I was assessing their abilities and not how much information they knew.  I did not spend a lot of time with potential questions because I didn’t want robotic answers.  My interviews have been different for each student.  I allow their responses to guide the conversation.

I set up in the hallway and students come out one by one.  Other students are in the classroom watching a movie and completing activities.  I set a timer on my phone for 5 minutes, and we begin talking.  The timer is just to keep me on track.  Here are the list of questions I had as a guide to get the conversation going.  Some students did not need many questions because they offered thorough  responses.

1. What did you do over the weekend? (This usually leads into many potential topics for extension)

2. What are your plans for the summer?

3. What do you like to do in your free time?

4. Describe your family and friends.

5. Describe the movie that we are watching in class.  What has happened?

6. Describe a TV program.

7. What do you want to do in the future?

8. My wife’s birthday is coming up.  What should I buy her and why?

Again, the key is that students understand that I’m not looking for simple answers.  I want to hear as much Spanish spoken as possible.

Later in the week, students will complete the writing, reading and listening sections.

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5 Responses to Interviews

  1. klbounds says:

    Hi there, I was wondering if you have a syllabus or a break down of how you grade. It looks like you grade speaking via interviews, writing, reading, listening. So what does your categories and break downs look like? Thanks!! I love your wesbite, it’s been a huge help in ironing out the kinks!!

    • bryankandel says:

      Thanks Krystle. My gradebook is divided into Reading (25%), Writing (25%), Listening (25%), Speaking (15%) and Language Use (10%). Language Use is small and is used for random assessments that do not fit into the others. Speaking is a bit smaller than the others because it is less of a requirement for Novice learners. I use several variations of assessments for all areas. For me, the great “awakening” was realizing that I could break away from the learn, review, test routine. All assessments are unannounced and as natural as possible. I’ll look to see if I can find a written description to send you.

      • klbounds says:

        Perfect thanks, that answers most of my questions. I too have got to the point of unannounced tests and what a relief, so my pressure is gone, for me and the students. I saw that you are doing the dojo, I tried that last year but found I couldn’t really maintain it and be consistent with 30-40 kids, which is my average class size. I have gotten away from grading participation, do you incorporate your dojo grade into language use? Thanks for getting back to me!!

  2. Hi, I was wondering what rubric you use? I am a first year MS Spanish teacher looking for a good way to assess 4 different levels, (roughly 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B- ish)and I love this kind of real assessment, but I also wonder how you manage the rest of the class? How do you score them?


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