Final exam in Spanish 3 and 4

As a dual credit teacher I have to meet certain requirements for the community college where discrete grammar is still a focus point but in the upper level classes I am going to “reform” the final exam. We have been studying El Salvador in Spanish 3 and Argentina in Spanish 4. After film, novel, and culture study a “normal” exam feels anticlimactic. Does it really prove they can have and defend an opinion about these deep, meaningful cultural topics we have studied???

Enter my new idea. This semester in Spanish 4 we studied the Dirty War in Argentina and watched the film La historia oficial…. As a final, I am going to show the class the movie Cautiva during the last regular class period and the 20 minute study period they have during exam week. In the actual 90 min exam period we will watch the last 40 minutes and then they will write an essay during the last 50 minutes in which they use examples from what we’ve learned in class this semester to show whether they approve or disapprove of the way the protagonist in the movie was given to her biological family.

In Spanish 3 we did our film study of Voces inocentes and will begin a study of the Spanish civil war in quarter 4… I will show them Carol’s Journey (both films are about 12 year olds and set during a war) and ask them to make comparisons between Carol’s life and Chava’s.

If anyone has done this or has any advice about why I shouldn’t, I’d love feedback!


  1. Last year we did a comparison of Carol’s journey and Pan’s Labyrinth!! I’ll look at my materials and see if there is anything you might be able to use… I love the idea of Voces Inocententes used in this.

    How did your students do with the vos in La Historia Oficial? I haven’t used that one in a while…

    with love,,

    • We do Butterfly and Pan’s Labyrinth in the 3/4th quarters so I am hoping Carol will be a good bridge to that from Voces.

      We had to watch the whole movie with Subtitles because not only is the Vos hard, the Spanish is just fast enough that it frustrates them. I wish that there was a better movie to stick in that spot…

      Looking forward to NTPRS… Ready for some dancing?

    • I totally agree. I’m afraid they won’t be placated either. I am finishing a novel study in both levels and am giving a “community college style” assessment to hopefully cover what they need to see as far as discrete grammar and vocabulary points. I am hoping that the essay written graded with a rubric that addresses vocabulary choice, grammar, and writing style will make this a good choice for the final! 🙂 But I may be wrong!

Leave a Reply