Monday, November 23, 2015

Story-based Assessments - Pulled Sentences & Additional Information

There are several ways of assessing a student's understanding of a text written in the Target Language.  One method that has been used for ages is to have the student read a text and then answer comprehension questions about the information in the text.  

The questions can be written either in the Target Language or in L1. One downfall to writing the questions in the TL and having students answer the questions in the TL is that students may be able to search the text using the words in the question and find the answer without actually understanding the text. (I've done this with texts written in English and with texts written in Spanish.) When that happens, the assessment is no longer providing information for which it was designed.

Lately, I've been experimenting with other ways in which students can show they understand a text.  Both of the examples below have numbers inserted in the text and the students choose the correct sentence to replace the number.

Example A:
This assessment is based on the story "Omar y Diego".  It is story that I wrote after a class story focusing on the structures: se despertaron, se fueron corriendo, and se levantaron.  I pulled some sentences from the text and inserted numbers in their place.  I moved the sentences to the bottom of the paper.  For the assessment, students must write the number on the line of the sentence that fits in that part of the text.  

To make this assessment more difficult, add sentences that were not from the original text to the choices, and/or pull out more sentences and add them to the bottom.  

If students haven't seen this type of assessment before, it would be helpful to use several class stories from the past and "practice" reading strategies to find the correct placement for the sentences.

Example B:
This is a variation of the above example. (I used the same story, "Omar y Diego" but this example shows the beginning of the story and the above example shows the end of the story. It's a full page of typed text!)  

Choose a place in a story where it would be easy to add another detail to the existing information.  Then to the left of the text, write several sentences from which the student needs to choose.  Some sentences you create can have absolutely nothing to do with the text. Students that understand the text should have no problem eliminating those as a choice.  You can list other sentences that are related to the subject matter but do not make sense at that particular part of the story. Also, by adding NONE to the choices, the student will not simply be able to eliminate two choice and by default choose the one that remains.  It is possible that none of the choices are correct and the student will need to understand each sentence in order to know if NONE is the correct answer.

This method may require some Higher Order Thinking skills (HOT)  on the teacher's part because you have to limit the vocabulary in the multiple choices to what the students know, but still create sentences that fit into the story and don't use the same words in the sentence before and after the #.  

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