This year I am making some major changes about how I teach Spanish, and I decided to blog about the journey. For years I’ve tried to do traditional pencil-paper achievement testing and performance assessment side by side, and I finally realized it just wasn’t working because the goals for each type of assessment are entirely different. Performance assessment reflects what I truly want students to do with the language, so I have abandoned written tests where students must fill in blanks with verbs or translate sentences. So far, I have not written a single verb chart on the board in Spanish 1. I have to say, I think this has been my most enjoyable year in the 18 years I’ve been teaching.
From now on, I plan to reflect on why I am doing something a particular way, and must determine whether what I am doing leads the students to the proficiency goals that I set for them. Having my students know about language is not enough for me if students are not able to use the language. Furthermore, I have no basis for believing that teaching them about language ultimately leads them to using language to communicate what they want or need to say. As the year progresses I’ll try to post the successes and failures as well as resources that I create.