Finals in the time of Coronavirus

Welp, we made it to the end of the semester, and this year that feels like a major accomplishment. In a normal year, my Spanish 1 final looks like this, but 2020 was anything but a normal year, so Spanish 1’s final isn’t normal either.

The mission:

  • Create an end of semester final assessment (as required by my school)
  • Design a final that will give a good measure of their language skills and sneak in more input!
  • Grading must be fast and easy because it’s no secret that I hate grading with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.
  • Most students will have an in person final, except the students who are home quarantining, and I need to meet both groups’ needs.
  • Oh and, it it would awesome if the final were “cheat proof”!

The product:

Speaking Test:

My colleague Amy and I decided to throw out the Speaking section of our Spanish 1 final. In a normal year, it feels like they have a lot of say and are excited to say it. This year we’ve had exactly 1/2 the class time, since they alternate between at home days and in class days. They just don’t have enough input for me to feel good about asking them to produce speaking output. It is what it is and so a Speaking Test is off the table.

Reading Test:

Something we’ve done consistently this year is Estrella del Día Interviews followed by a little Write and Discuss action. For the reading portion of their final, I took 4 of our written biographies (from different classes) and dropped them into a google form with statements written in English. Students read the bios, then the statements, and decide who each statement is referring to.

After reading the Bios, students demonstrate their understanding by checking the boxes for each student.

Update: I had originally created a check box quiz for students to check which student the statement refers to. Reader Veronica told me that it won’t grade it as I was expecting to grade it, making it a nightmare for partial credit. I played around with it and she was right! Here’s how to set up a Checkmark Grid so students can get partial credit for their answers:

Don’t you worry, I reached out to each students with a “featured” biography to ask their permission to use it in our final, and I also asked if there was any information they’d like removed or changed.

A few tricks to make it harder for those stinkers to cheat on a Google Form:

Rather than typing in the text you want them to read, take a screenshot, then insert it as an image. They’ll be able to read it, but Google won’t offer to translate the text into English. Thanks but no thanks, Google!

Then we’ll get fancy with the form settings:

Step 1: Click the “Settings” icon.

Step 2: Turn on “Locked Mode”, this will prevent them from opening any other tabs or windows while they’re taking their test. I believe this only works if your school district has the Google Suite for Education and devices that are monitored by your district. For my Little Darlings to take this test, they must use their district issued Chromebooks, they cannot open a Locked Quiz on a personal device.

Step 3: After everyone has taken the quiz and you have all their responses, click “Make this a quiz” and enter in the correct answers. Then create a Spreadsheet to see their responses and have Google automatically grade the form. If you enter the answers when you create the form (before they take it) your techy Little Darlings can open the source code and see all the answers! Don’t believe me? Watch this little stinker show you how easy it is to do!

When you enter your answers for the Check Mark Grid:

Now students can get partial credit (3/4 points, if they get 1 incorrect, but 3 correct)

Disclaimer- I don’t think it’s possible to make it totally cheat proof, the kiddos at home can still use their phones to look up words or even snap a picture, but these tricks will make it just a bit harder. And if you’re teaching comprehensibly, and writing a test that’s comprehensible, hopefully they won’t even think about reaching for their phone because they feel confident in their understanding. Here’s to hoping, anyway!

Listening Test:

If you’re new around here, last year we got a new puppy and I made a whole mess of videos introducing Archie to my Little Darlings. Since there’s no shame in using last year’s videos this year, I put them together into a compilation for this year’s Listening Test. (Which is really designed to give them more input…and show me what they understand!)

First they’ll watch this:

Then they’ll fill out one of my ACTFL Quick Quizzes. After they’ve listened once (and squealed with delight at all the cuteness!), I’ll pass out the paper, give them a chance to write a bit, then I’ll play it again. Then they’ll have the chance to write some more and I’ll ask if they want to watch it again for a 3rd time (and even a 4th), because, really, my ultimate goal is to give them more input 🙂 I want them to show me their understanding on paper, because they’re crazy fast to grade. As they turn it in, I’m able to start grading immediately on my clipboard as I circulate and collect tests. If you’re worried about their germy germs on their papers, there’s a digital version below 😉

The kiddos at home will watch the video embedded into a ACTFL Quick Quiz Google Form .

Writing Test:

My wise friend Alison is fond of assessments “with a low floor and a high ceiling”. I love that perspective: Impress me with what you can do with the language you’ve acquired this semester! My writing test is built on that philosophy (and also because 2020 is hard and I’m tired and my brain is fried).

Like my rubric at the bottom? Check out my Writing and Speaking Rubrics at my TPT Store, The Chase Place.

Looks good, Señora Chase, but how on earth are you going to make the Writing Test Cheat Proof for the at home Little Darlings? Well, that’s a good question and I’m so glad you asked. I’m not even going to try! They’ve done a few Quick Writes over the semester…for students who are at home, I’ll just dig out their most recent Quick Write and assess that. Did I mention that 2020 is hard and we’ve got to simplify where we can?

Next week we’ll take our finals and wrap up a very weird semester. I’ve got a Gmail Template all set up and ready to go for anyone who emails me needing to take their final from home. The end is in sight. Wishing you health and fortitude as we stumble to the Winter Break finish line. Hang in there, dear friends!

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