Last finals this week!

I’m on my way home from Bend, where I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful group of new colleagues as well as hanging out with my parents. Diane Brown rocked the house by getting up and trying out MovieTalk on a video she hadn’t even seen! That takes courage and a history of fine teaching. I wish I could have stayed longer (not only because it was warm and I hear it snowed up to six inches at home while I was gone).

I’m in the airport, taking a break from writing the reading part of a final on Quia. It’s a mix of questions that have to be aimed at three different levels in the intermediate class (officially, but who doesn’t have three different levels or more in any given language class).

I’m trying to start each final with novice-level questions: word recognition, single-word answers, simple questions. Then I work my way up to questions in which students have to be able to read a whole sentence, then strings of sentences, then paragraphs, and finally understanding time and organization. It’s harder than I’d expected to write a test that I want to be multiple choice and directed at different levels, while still personalizing and making it kind of fun. On top of that, I’m trying to keep it reading, not writing. I did put in some grammar questions, but they’re all centered around meaning. For the first time, I tried putting in contrastive-type grammar questions for those 4%-ers. We’ll see whether the kids like it or whether it’s horrible. Instructions tell the kids that they should not worry if they don’t get everything. My kids know that I analyze all the question responses to throw out bad questions, so I hope they view tests as a challenge, knowing that my goal is to show them what they know.

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