Semester Exams

I am passionate about semester tests.

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When I was a traditional textbook teacher, I reveled in the challenge of making my own multiple choice tests (click here for my multiple choice Spanish 1 test).  I liked it so much I made review packets that were multiple choice too!  Examples:  Which word doesn’t belong, these are all kinds of ___, why do we do this in Spanish? (PS:These reviews are really pretty good in my opinion, but I just don’t teach that way anymore.  If you use Avancemos 1, chances are I have  guides that might be to your benefit!  Just ask me and I’ll share! It was hard for me to find Avancemos materials when I used it.)

However, as I’ve changed my teaching philosophy I’ve realized that my tests weren’t Best Practice.  I found many students often performed poorly and never remembered the material they had crammed in from the previous week.

What I did like is that my exam gave my students a challenge, because I think it’s important for students to have that kind of experience whether they’re college bound or not.

This all being said, often struggle with what my exam should cover.  Are my students learning stuff?  Oh yeah!  But I’m not sure it’s necessarily what they should know at that point in time.  I am not given a set curriculum, which is a blessing and a curse. Maybe I’m not teaching something that a certain level should be able to do.  I really fret about this a lot!

So this year, I went in search of other people’s exams.  I really found a lot of people willing to freely share their tests and I am so grateful to them.  Here are a couple I looked at while deciding what my test should be:

Spanish 1 – Midterm Test from Mike Peto

I love everything Sr. Peto does!  He had two twists I hadn’t considered but decided to include on my test: (1) 10 verbs for students to translate, making sure to differentiate between I eat and you eat; (2) He asked questions about reading in Spanish but students had to answer in English.  I also liked that he chunked the reading up more (see link for his examples).  I also liked his question that had students write a mini-story for the pictures drawn.

Spanish 2 – La Llorona Reading Based Exam from Martina Bex

There’s nothing NOT to love about all of Martina’s documents, this one included.  What I loved about this assessment were her varying reading activities.  I especially loved how she had students working with Spanish synonyms.  Truth be told, I used this test as an inspiration for my Quarter 1 test because we had just been learning about real Latino monsters.  It was a hit with my students (despite being a test), and while I officially haven’t taught about La Llorona my students remember what she’s famous for!

Spanish 3 -Midterm Test from Jordan Yeagar

Spanish 3 and 4 – Performance Based Midterms from Carrie Toth

Yeagar and Toth’s midterms are similar to each other, so I hope they don’t mind me putting them together.  When I look at these tests I really get the sense that they planned backwards when looking at their semester.  They have images on the 1st page with the themes/units they’ve covered and allow students a multitude of choices.  I hope to get some inspiration either for my Spanish 3 second semester or next year.

AP Spanish – Midterm from Sara Cottrell

I like that Sara’s exam is about Christmas.  I like having tests that give students new cultural info with skills they’ve developed in class (I try to do this for listening and reading sections).  I like that she used an authentic article for students to respond to in their essay, and I love that she included an infograph (I love putting these on tests, but mine are usually extra credit).  I liked how she made everything digital too.  I’m so jealous of that!

AP Spanish – Students-Choose-Styled Midterm from Sara Cottrell

I like that the emphasis is on the student to prepare and not me, but this test scares me the most because it gives me the least amount of control.  Students are allowed to say how they’d like to show they’re competent in a certain area.

AP Spanish – Midterm Review Guides from Mike Peto

These aren’t his midterm, but instead they’re reviews for his midterm.  What I love about this is that he uses authentic articles to review themes/units they have taught.  I also like how he’s making students focus on word meaning, similar to the activity I loved in Martina’s exam.  Plus, I kind of feeling just by looking at it that it’s an AP test.  It may sound juvenile because it has nothing to do with content, but I think an assessment should look professional.

I’m nervous about sharing this due to my own insecurities about my capabilities, but I’m going to share the test I gave my Spanish 1.  I am so gracious to the people I referenced above that I feel it’s my duty to share what I gave to students.  Click here to download the 2013 Spanish 1 – Quarter 2 Test.  For informational purposes, my students had 84 minutes to complete all portions of this test.  Here’s commercials I used for Listening II and this was the Listening Extra Credit commercial.

If you have ideas for improvement or catch errors, please email me at eldentlinger at yahoo.com and let me know!

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7 thoughts on “Semester Exams

  1. Gracias, gracias, gracias! My dept head just had the idea that we should consider doing proficiency based midterm/final exams…yea!!! I’ve been pushing for that in my own classes for the last two years. At tomorrow’s dept mtg I am showing all my new found goodies, thanks to you and the others. Our school is a very large school. We have 23 language teachers, 13 of which are all Spanish!! So you can only imagine how difficult it is to get everyone on board. So many have been teaching for years and they are set in their ways. As for me, I came in the middle. Not old school, and not new school. I’ve been learning little by little, thanks to great website like yours! Thank you for all the sharing you do.

    • You are so welcome Sra Mireles! I am glad that I was able to help you. I hope your proficiency journey goes well – I am learning SO much. I really should do a new post about all I have learned since starting with it.

  2. Well I for one appreciate all you do, your ideas and all you write about. I’ve been teaching for 10 years and I still feel like a new teacher. My education fell on the cusp of what once was, and what was yet to be in terms of all the new pedagogy. I’ve moved around to different schools and finally and am in a good place, but we have 23 language teachers, 13 of which are Spanish, and everyone does things their way!!!

  3. Do you still have your Avancemos 1 Exams? I couldn’t find them on Teachers Pay Teachers? I got a new computer at school, and my Test Generator is gone! Thank you!

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