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.


  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!


  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!!!!


    • 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.


      • 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.


      • I’ll write a post about my Spanish 4 test they just took… it looks similar with different material.


  3. OMG, where have you been all my life?!?!? I just gave this test to my first year German students (they meet every other day), and it was the easiest-peasiest grading I have ever done. Not to mention that the kids felt a lot less stressed, knowing they couldn’t fail (or even get a D)!!! I’m going to try it next week with my level 3 kids. THANK YOU!!!!!
    Just one question: do you follow this format for every test (just changing the reading/listening selections and writing prompts) in every level?


    • Hi! I’m so glad you found it useful! You’ll want to adjust the ACTFL levels for different levels. I wrote a post about my level 4 Celebration of knowledge if you want to check it out.


  4. Thank you so much for posting this assessment – it was easy to put together, easy to grade (I’m in total agreement with you about grading, I’d rather be lesson planning with my time!) and the students overall felt successful. My one question for you is what do you do when a student doesn’t accurately identify the main idea (makes it too general or writes something like “a story about Pablo” but doesn’t identify the overall idea) but then lists out details in the Novice High section that were somewhat basic too? That happened with a few of my students and I wasn’t sure how to grade that? Thoughts? Did that happen with your assessments?


    • Yay!! I’m glad it worked well for you!! I noticed that with 1 or 2 students as well that caught details but missed the main idea. For me they’ve got to get all 3 sections for the A so I’d either give them a 90% so it’s still an A but write a note in the main idea section that they need to elaborate more… or give them a high B, like 88% with the same note. What do you think?


      • That’s exactly what I did…I gave them either a 22 or 22.5 with a note that they needed to explain more in the main idea section. Going forward, I’ll explain that better in the beginning.


      • Yep!! And I also remind them that I’m their teacher, I’m still going to grade it. Just because they filled up the page doesn’t automatically earn them an A.


  5. Thanks for this format! I’ve used it a couple times so far and I liked it a lot. It was better for my students when I made the spaces larger and put in lines…easier for me to read their sometimes messy, sometimes tiny, sometimes large handwriting. 🙂


    • Ooooh….adding lines is a great idea!! Thanks! I’m so torn between making the spaces larger or keeping it on one page! I feel like grading one page is so much less painful!!


    • Yes! My semester final looked suspiciously like this! Of course the reading and listening included structures from the whole semester or year.


  6. […] But fear didn’t stop me from overhauling my curriculum and it has never stopped me from trying a new method or type of activity, so I decided to do it. I researched CI assessments and found lots of information, but the one that ended up working out was Señora Chase’s Celebration of Knowledge. […]


  7. How does this work for students who are TRULY under-performing? Like what if the student can only list 3 words, or the words are wrong? It seems to me like there’s a lot of room for students (and PARENTS) to argue. I’m a dept of 1, so I’m really interested in doing something like this but I’m hesitant because of the amount of judgment it would take on the teacher’s part to grade. Not that I think I’m not capable of making those decisions, but I just would want to be SURE I was being totally fair, and leaving as little room for complaint/frustration on the kid’s part as possible.


    • If a kid wrote 3 words and tried to turn it in, I’d give it back and say, “look around the room… do you see any words you can copy down?” Literally, copying down words is Novice Low… there’s nothing below that! Now if I kid refuses to write/copy anything… that’s another story and would result in a zero. This aligns with NV’s proficiency target for Level 1- at the end of the year the target is Novice Mid, so anything exceeding that is an A and anything not quite is a C. I haven’t had any parent pushback and kids love knowing that if they try, they’ll at least earn a C


      • Oh wow, okay! That’s such a different concept for me. I see what you are saying. So would you apply the same thing even if they wrote the same words for every test? Would you give them more points if they listed the words in Spanish and defined in English? Would you give them more points if the words were from memory and not copied from the classroom? I know a lot of it comes down to judgment, but I want to make sure that I’m being fair when grading and that kid know what to expect and how to earn more points. I’m giving my kids an assessment like this on Friday and I’m trying to figure out if there are issues I need to address prior to that in terms of grading and what kids should do.


      • So there’s a lot of room from a 70% to a 79%. So if they’re just copying words from around the classroom for me that would be a 70%. If they’re coming up with new words that we’ve been going over that might be a high of 78 or 79%. If they’re just using the same words every test I will make that a low 70%. I like it that there’s a lot of flexibility between a High C and a Low C, so use your best judgment. I also encourage my students to retake any portion of the test that doesn’t reflect their proficiency level, that gives you an out if parents complain, Because they always have the option to retake it. For a test retake I would give them a different version of the reading and listening, but the same task.


  8. This assessment tool is still my all-time favorite. However, now that I only have some kids physically in the classroom while the rest attends class via Google Meet, I can’t quite wrap my head around doing this digitally. How are you handling this situation (I’m assuming you’re in the same boat, or at least something similar)?


    • Hi Brigitte, I’m not in the same boat, I’m so sorry! We have a blended hybrid where kids alternate between digital days and in person days, but I don’t have any kids who are 100% digital. I do all my assessments in class. That’s not helpful for you- I’m sorry!
      I’ve done digital assessments with the reading and listening (have you seen the google form quick quizzes) but the trouble is assessing writing. To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t worry about assessing writing while they’re digital, and just focus on the input. If you have to, maybe you have them write pencil on paper and submit a picture (and maybe ask parents to “proctor”?!) good luck!


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