Spanish 1’s first “Celebration of Knowledge” AKA Test

We don’t have tests here in my class. We have Celebrations of Knowledge. (Pop Quizzes are call Surprise Parties…because, why not?)  My Spanish 1 little darlings just took their very first Celebration of Knowledge today and I’m really pleased with it…so of course, I thought I’d share it with you!

Backstory: Actually 2 Backstories:

  1. Department wide, we’re focusing on the 4 skills and wanting our assessments to give a good measure of what they can DO in Spanish, using ACTFL’s proficiency levels as a guide. As a department we agreed that students who exceed Nevada’s Proficiency Expectation for any given level should earn an A, students who meet Nevada’s Proficiency Expectation for any given level should earn a B, and students who are approaching Nevada’s Proficiency Expectation should earn a C. Read more about our philosophy shift here. 
  2.  Our district loves Common Assessments. We’ve always written common unit exams and given them to all students in the same level…HOWEVER, this year we’re making a move to Untargeted Vocabulary  and so we needed to figure out HOW to write Common Assessments when they students have been exposed to different vocabulary.

So my awesome colleague Karl (who also teaches Spanish 1) and I sat down to craft our first “Common Assessment” AKA Celebration of Knowledge and I’m delighted with what we came up with:

  • It’s low stress and low stakes! Anyone who wants to take a similar version again can, if they feel like it wasn’t a good measure of the Spanish they’ve acquired. We want their grade to reflect the language they’ve got!
  • It’s easy to grade…Hallelujah! On average it’s taken me 30-40 SECONDS to grade EACH test. Praise Jesus!
  • It measures Listening, Reading and Writing…we decided to grade Speaking informally throughout the semester using the Magic Cards, so as not to stress them out during the test AND so we don’t have to spend a lot of time conducting student interviews…Our time is better spent loading them up with Comprehensible Input during class…not painstakingly asking each kid 5 questions while everyone else hangs out/
  • Because I’m all about simplifying and I’m really excited about my Reading and Listening Quick Quizzes, we just adjusted them to work with our test, err, Celebration of Knowledge.
  • We used the same format, same paper for all Spanish 1 students, but we used personalized listening and reading portions to reflect the vocabulary we’ve focused on in class. I love it that kids are getting assessed the same way, it’s worth the same number of points, students are showcasing the same skills…BUT… the test is personalized to their class. It’s a Personalized Common Assessment 🙂

Without further Ado…Here’s it is!

Feel Free to make a copy and personalize it for your classes! NOTE: I wrote the Listening and Reading portions using vocabulary I knew they were familiar with, BUT it’s brand new…they’ve never heard/read these stories before.

Spanish 1, 1st Celebration of Knowledge  (including our personalized reading and listening portion)

Celebration of Knowledge Template (Blank so you can write in your own personalized reading and listening portion)

A few words about grading…

Each section of this test was worth 25 points. To make the grading fast and easy, I wrote out numbers in bold to correspond with each letter grade. So, next to C, you’ll see numbers 17.5-19.5. That’s telling me that 17.5/25 is a C- and 19.5/25 is a C+. I didn’t want to have to get out my calculator to figure out the percentages while I was grading. And I don’t even write the grade on it…just circle the number. Go, go Speed Grader!

I entered this in the grade book as 3 separate grades: They got a Unit 1 Listening Test grade, Unit 1 Reading Test grade and a Unit 1 Writing Test grade… which even saved me more time because I didn’t have to write an overall total at the top of the test. And since my fabulous TA alphabetizes every thing, it makes entering the grades into the grade book a breeze. Work smarter, not harder, people!

Just because they wrote somethings next to the A doesn’t necessarily mean they earned an A…I’m still the teacher and I’m going to use my judgement to determine if those were in fact specific details from the reading or just main ideas…  Look at the kiddo below, he has lots of specifics in the B section…even though he doesn’t have anything written next to the A, he still earned an A because he showed me that he understood the specifics of the listening. The teacher’s job is to read it and choose the grade that best reflects their listening/reading comprehension skills, students are NOT choosing their own grade!

For the Listening and Reading, I read the A section and B section. I don’t look at the C section unless they don’t have anything written in A or B. And Section B has to Support Section A…It is possible for a kid to miss the maid idea…but get some specifics. Look at the kiddo below…she earned a B, even though she has lots of writing next to the A section, because she didn’t show me that she completely understood the listening section. You’re the teacher, use your teacher judgement!

Sometimes kids have great ideas, like the little darling below. Why didn’t I think about getting a class cat to live in our trailer?! I’ll be speaking to my administrator about this…

That’s it! I’ve been teaching a looong time and this is the first test I’ve written that was EASY to grade and gave me an ACCURATE measure of what they can understand and write in Spanish. If you try it out, I’d love to hear how you adapt it to work with your classes.

8 Comments

  1. Me encanta!! You are brilliant Señora Chase!! I am going to try to use your template for my first Celebration of Knowledge with my Spanish 1 class. I love your blog – you are my CI super hero 🙂 Thank you for all that you share!

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this! I am just back from a conference on CI and am going to work really hard over the next few months to switch my department to using more CI at least in the earlier levels. I am not sure if I can get the AP tracked kids away from a textbook in the upper levels- maybe eventually. But muchas gracias!!!!

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    1. I’m only teaching Spanish 1 and Spanish 4 this year, so no…but I would use the same format. On my link to the quick quizzes, I have them for Level 2, so I would adjust the test accordingly and use slightly more complex listening and reading passages.

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      1. That was my big question too – how do you best adjust for higher levels? I LOVE this idea, and think it makes it so clear to students before they even turn in the page what they are capable of.

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