I recently gave my Spanish final. After correcting each part, I put the grades for each part onto the final sheet and totaled up the score to get their final exam score. However, the process for me was far from done. I then opened a spreadsheet, created a column for each category of the test and a column of student names. I then entered the students’ grades for each part of the final and had the computer calculated the class average and the percent of that average out of a perfect score such as (class average of 22.4 out of a perfect score of 25 for a 90%). I found out that my students achieved a class average of 85% for speaking, 90% for listening, 76% for reading, and 77% for culture, and a 62% for writing. I instantly thought of what I could do differently next semester to help the students do better. I focused in on their writing which was their lowest score. I have decided that each week that they will write at least five sentences. I will correct their sentences more frequently (at least once a week). I realized that I have to help them understand the critical difference between the preterite and the imperfect tense since most students mixed up the two tenses in the each tense specific writing on the final. I also thought of several strategies to improve their reading such as writing more questions for them to answer about the book “conversations”; have them practice answering questions words in class so that they are sure of the type answer. For example, the Spanish question word, Donde, has to be answered with a place; and have them find similar words in the question and the answer. My goal is to increase each of these two lowest scores so that they both are in the 85% for the next time. I realize that I have to give my students different strategies than I gave this semester’s students. I will give formative assessments frequently to measure their growth. I look forward to the challenge and their success.
So what does your final tell you about the different strategies you might need to give your students of next year?
My book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.