What did I say?

A good teacher is always looking for ways to vary his or her assessments. Administering varied assessment types allows for differences in student strengths and weaknesses and provides novelty. Novelty is important because it makes the assessment feel less like an exam and more like an activity, which reduces anxiety and lowers the affective filter, allowing the students to be more successful. I’ve posted several kinds of listening assessments before, and here is yet another!

1973297-manuel_que“What did I say?” Listening Assessment

STEP ONE: Read aloud a short text to students in the target language. This can be fiction, non-fiction, original, or authentic.

STEP TWO: Have students draw a picture of what they heard.

STEP THREE: Have students write a sentence or short paragraph to describe their picture in English. They should write it in English so that any error in their work can only be attributed to a misunderstanding of what they heard and not an inability to produce correct language. By describing their picture instead of writing explicitly about the text, they are required to summarize and use their own words.

Turn it into a writing assessment…

STEP FOUR: If you want to turn it into a writing assessment as well, you could then have students translate what they wrote in English into Spanish. You will then know that students understood or did not understand what you said originally and whether or not they are able to produce original language by describing the picture (summarizing the original text) in Spanish.


    • Yes, it could. It would be a listening grade (search ‘categories’ to see the grading categories that I used) and would be graded based on the degree to which the student demonstrated understanding of the listening passage. If s/he understood the main information, Proficient. If s/he demonstrated understanding of many specific details that the students are not yet expected to know, Advanced. It would be best to give the students a rubric along with the assessment so that they know what they must do in order to achieve each level of proficiency.


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