Accurate Assessments, Part II

Open House is tonight, and I’m feeling the pressure to have grades for my students’ parents to see. My first year kids only have one grade in the books so far, so I gave them a listening assessment today so that they could have a second one. But as I’m sitting here looking at them, I realize that I can’t put them in the gradebook!! They are formative at best, but even that is questionable because they really aren’t an accurate measure of my students’ listening abilities.

I asked the story Camina y corre in class today, and it was a huge success!! In one class, a girl was walking with her friend Lady Gaga and saw Michael Jackson, who turned out to be a zombie that ran after the girls. In another class, one girl saw One Direction, but she doesn’t like them so a classmate who is completely obsessed ran after them, but they ran away. My sixth graders thought that it was the best thing ever!!

So after the story, I gave them the listening assessment–four questions in English about the story. But I realized that (1) I can’t count it as a summative assessment because we haven’t even gotten to the “read” stage of TPRS yet–they are still just learning the words, and (2) it isn’t even accurate as a listening assessment because the whole time I was pausing and pointing to words on the board so that the kiddos could read them, and the actors were acting everything out. I tried to think of questions that weren’t obvious from the acting, but even then I think I ended up with details that the kids couldn’t exactly remember, even if they understood them at the time. Sigh. I need to remember that if I want to put something in the gradebook, it has to be summative (the kids must have “finished” learning whatever I am assessing), and it must be accurate.

Maybe I’ll count it as a Citizenship grade…the kids had to be paying attention to know the answers, right?….

6 comments

  1. I understand the difficulty with having formative/summative assessments… they are always tough, especially if you have to have common assessments with another teacher! I am wondering about your skits though… could you tell me more about those and how you do them? I think my middle scool kids would really like those!

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    • Are you familiar with TPRS? The script that we used was for “camina y corre” (search it on my site). I need to videotape one one of these days. To get an idea of what it’s like, see the video that’s posted on the “Using story scripts” page…there is only one “actor” in that story, but the delivery is similar, anyway. Let me know what follow-up questions you have.

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  2. Martina, can you enter them as formative assessments? I do 5 points for formative, and more for summative, depending on how major I feel the summative one was. You can’t be doing summative assessments twice or three times a week, and yet the kids and parents would like to see some grades in there.

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