Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I teach mostly with projects, throwing in an occasional test. Testing kids can be tricky. You want to know what they know, you want to know what they think they know. I like vocabulary tests and conjugation tests, things that must be memorized. I love to give spelling tests, because it is important to learn how to spell in any language, and the sounds are different and they must learn to internalize those sounds so that they mean something.

Today I was tested. 30 vocabulary words, plus MEA results analysis and intervention strategies. This test was announced in September, and I did not work very hard at studying. Instead, I made myself present and aware in class, and did a lot of reading, but not the textbook. I read journal articles and reports and saw the vocabulary in context. That helped. I noticed several people made flashcards. I read my own notes, and two of my colleagues' notes. That really helped a lot!

How do others test? How do others study or expect their students to study?

As I said, I prefer to teach with projects, and measure growth over time. I like to give student surveys and something I like to call an exit slip. It asks questions that are designed to help the learner reflect and name his or her experiences. Naming something is very powerful. Especially in a new language.


The Buck Shoots Here said...

I don't really test in my current life. I would rather know they know how to figure something out instead of having random facts memorized.

Amity said...

Ah yes. My facts are not random because language is incredibly systemic.

You should give them a test here and there but make it valid. Not too much writing. Make them video tape their answers and maybe only 5 quick questions.

It is amazing what happens when kids see themselves on video.....


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