Varied Listening Assessments

Each quarter, I try to get three or four grades in the book in each grade category (speaking, reading, writing, listening, culture, citizenship). I learned from Scott Benedict that this is a good number because you are not spending so much time doing summative assessments that you never actually have time to learn new things, but it also allows for students to have good and bad assessments and still give an accurate picture overall.

Tonight, as I was grading dictations, I was reminded of the fact that it is also extremely important that you vary the kinds of assessments that you do in each category. I was shocked as I graded the first dictation that I gave my Spanish A students this year–some students could transcribe the sentence with incredible accuracy but drew inaccurate drawings, while others completely (COMPLETELY) botched the transcription, their illustrations were spot-on. It is important to vary the assessment type for the student’s sake, because all students will have different strengths and weaknesses within a skill area, but also for YOUR sake, so you know where your students are struggling!

Here are some different summative listening assessments that I use:

  1. Dictation: It is so important to have the illustration piece so that this is still a listening comprehension assessment!! I love that it is so easy to grade with the rubric included. Email me if you’d like an editable version.
  2. Incorrect dictation: Read five-ish FALSE statements to students about something that you’ve just discussed. Students must first transcribe the statements in L2 and then correct the information, demonstrating comprehension both of the discussion and the statements.
  3. First, Second: I like this because putting events in their correct order requires a different kind of processing than just interpreting what you hear.
  4. True/False: It’s so easy, how could I not include it!!
  5. Read a paragraph to the students (usually three times) and have them circle pictures of things that meet a certain criteria, as in my Tengo tu love listening assessment where students have to circle things that the speaker has. (Other ideas are things that the person does in the morning, places that s/he likes to go, items of clothing that s/he buys at the store, etc.).
  6. Write a series of five(ish) questions in English on the board, then read a paragraph and have the students answer the questions in English based on what they heard. As I’ve said before, I think that it is important that the questions and answers be written in English so that you are truly assessing listening comprehension, and not writing or reading. If you have them in Spanish, you won’t know if students are getting stuck on the reading, writing, or listening piece.
  7. Same/Different: Show students a picture (or give them a reading) and then read aloud a selection “about” the picture that has some errors. Have students write down two-three things that are the same and two-three things that are different between the picture/reading and the listening selection.

9 comments

  1. I have a question about number 6. I have been putting the questions in Spanish for my listening sections of quizzes so that it is easier for students to find/hear the answer. Isn’t it harder to get the answer if they have to translate what they’re hearing into English to answer the English question? Or am I way off here?
    Thanks!

    Like

    • I have a question about number 6. I have been putting the questions in Spanish for my listening sections of quizzes so that it is easier for students to find/hear the answer. Isn’t it harder to get the answer if they have to translate what they’re hearing into English to answer the English question? Or am I way off here?
      Thanks!

      Like

  2. It IS harder, but here is the problem with writing questions in Spanish: you can only really assess students’ ability to HEAR, not to UNDERSTAND. For example, if you say “Bob tiene un perro y quiere un gato”, then ask “¿Bob tiene un perro?” or “¿Qué quiere Bob?” a student could answer either of those questions using common sense if they are a good test taker. They could answer it without ever understanding what the question or the answer mean in English (although they WOULD need to understand the word “Qué?” in the second example). Also, if you write the questions in Spanish and have students read them, they will be able to understand the listening selection better because they can see some of the words that they are hearing–it is not a ‘blind’ listening assessment. To assess listening, we must isolate the skill!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Martina, how do you grade something like a dictation assessment? Out of 10? What I have been doing is deciding where they fall on the rubric and multiplying it by 2 to get a score out of 10. While that seems pretty good, I also wonder what advanced really looks like. If my Spanish 1 kids miss the accent in él but get everything else, is that advanced? (If they clearly understand the language as evidenced by their drawings.) What if they spell the target vocab wrong but clearly understand everything? That seems pretty advanced to me…what do you think?

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    • It is whatever standard you set. So for my SP 1 students, I don’t care at all about accents, and I rely much more on the comprehension piece as evidenced by drawings, as you stated. A few spelling errors is even fine. They should be able to transcribe familiar words accurately and unfamiliar words close to accurately.

      Like

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