Upper Level Semester Exams- Performance Based

I have been trying to think of a way for students to really SHOW me what they’ve learned this semester. Rather than a “one size fits all” topic for our semester exam, I am going to give students this choice board. Topic and product, the decision is in their hands… And plus, I think it will be a lot more fun to grade a variety of products! 🙂 I’ll let you know how it goes. Feel free to adapt to your topics from this semester.



Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at gmail.com.

13 thoughts

  1. For lower levels, we have often given students an empty storyboard and had them draw a story of their choice and then write or speak about the pictures. This allows them to really show where they shine and pick a topic/story line that highlights what they’re really good at. It was a great way for them to put their own stamp on their exam and like you said, much better than reading the same essay over and over again. Love your ideas, too!

  2. Do you only teach levels 3 and 4?

    I love this idea for the upper levels and I’ve been struggling with figuring out what I”m going to do because I”m teaching level 4 for the first time ever this year.

    What are you doing for spanish 1, if you teach it?

    1. I teach level 1,3, & 4. In level one I do a final free write and a final speaking the week before (so I have more time for grading level 3/4 exams). Their final is culture, listening, reading, and vocabulary.

      1. So the level 1 midterm is a freewrite and speaking assessment? And the final exam is culture, listening, reading and vocab?

      2. I generally give a 5 part exam. Speaking and writing the day before the official exam and listening, reading, and culture on the exam day. While they’re working on the exam, I’m grading the reading as I watch for cheaters. It works well. For speaking I either give them a picture or have them draw one and for writing I either give them a picture or a set of vocabulary to choose from to use (in English).

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