Assess what’s important!


You can easily tell what is important in my classroom: communication!  It is embedded in every class period.  The majority of the time is spent on communicating and being understood, using all three modes of communication, orally and in writing. Students are assessed on their ability to create with the language and comprehensibility.  Yes, I teach grammar, (and yes I often invisibly cringe when I hear certain things),  but my students know that I am looking for how well they can get their point across.  During class time, I use a rubric to assess their participation in speaking and writing activities.  And for their summative assessments, they must write, read, speak, and listen.  The very first assessment of the year, they asked me amazed, “You want us to speak???!!!”  Imagine that?!  “Can we write it down first?”  “Yes,” I say.  “And when you go to France, bring around your notepad and pen, so you can write everything down before you say it.” What justice are we doing them if they cannot communicate?  I tell my students that unless they plan to get a job at the verb conjugation plant, that they will have to be speaking, reading, and writing.  Filling in the blanks does not constitute communicating. I continue to make my expectations clear, and not budge on their assessments.  Pretty quickly they rise to the challenge.  They are no longer surprised when they are assessed on their oral and written proficiency.  And the best part of all, they are able to speak and write!  They know it’s important because that is what they are tested on.


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