Assessment: What makes a good quiz?

Assessment is a constantly evolving process for me. It is important to me to give assessments that give me meaningful information about what my students can understand and communicate in Spanish.  My framework for a valid assessment has changed each year, and I’m still researching, experimenting, looking at other teachers’ examples, and generally trying to figure things out.

So here’s my question: What kind of assessment makes a valid quiz grade?

Admin mandates that tests are weighted 60% and quizzes are weighted 20% (the other 20% is homework and daily work), and also that each department give common assessments. I know my students are pretty solid on the vocabulary, and we’re working up to some more in-depth writing and speaking assignments, but I’m not sure what to do for a quiz grade. I want it to be comprehension-based, but more than translating individual words. I’ve looked at the Realidades resources….I don’t love them. The chapter test is ok, but I don’t care for the quiz materials at all – too much focus on conjugating, questions are confusing, and it doesn’t clearly measure what students understand. I’m thinking perhaps a reading passage with some comprehension questions in English (although I do find it difficult to write good comprehension questions), or maybe filling out a graphic organizer – like a paragraph about a school schedule, and they fill out a chart?

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So writing is reflecting, and after I wrote the above post, I went over to Musicuentos.com and read through the Assessment tag, and found this description of how Sara-Elizabeth did vocab quizzes in Spanish 1 and 2:

1) Ask random questions to elicit vocab, and the answer just has to make sense or be true. (¿De qué color son los ‘arches’ de McDonalds?)

So I could do something like, ¿Qué clase tienes primera? ¿Qué necesitas para la clase de matemáticas? ¿Quién enseña tu clase de literatura? ¿Cuál es tu clase favorita? ¿Por qué? Short and sweet, easy to grade (a must to sell it to my department!), and leaves vocabulary open-ended for students. I hesitate, however, because a wrong answer could mean either that they didn’t remember how to say the answer in Spanish, or that they didn’t understand the question.  So maybe give the option, (or require?) that they also write what the question means in English?

What do quizzes look like in your classes?

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About Andrea

I am a teacher, dancer, and Spanish-speaker. This is my place to organize & share my thoughts on teaching, foreign language & language learning.
This entry was posted in Assessment, Lesson Reflections, Sp 1 Unit 4: En la escuela and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Assessment: What makes a good quiz?

  1. Lee says:

    So I call them check-ups and they weigh about that much too in my grade book. But it may be a 10 point grade where I ask them a question,¿qué te gusta hacer? Or I tell them Me gusta hablar español, and see if they can respond. I might ask, ¿cómo es tu tercera class? Check-ups are quick and I do them while others are working. Or it might be to see if they can use some of the verbs we have been practicing (i.e. conjugate), but it takes the temperature of whether they know what they are doing at that point. Short and sweet they are for students, and at the same time you have a quick assessment of how they are doing.

  2. Andrea says:

    Gracias, Lee! I have my desks grouped in pairs and I always re-arrange in rows for written tests/quizzes – something quick and oral would save me that hassle!

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