This was the first year that we did a final as an IPA. Instead of students completing this during the final two hour exam time, they completed it over the last two weeks of school. This IPA was designed for Spanish III, and it revolved around natural disasters. I do not want to give too many details away as this is our final, but I can give some thoughts!
This year, we chose the earthquake in Ecuador as our natural disaster. We used an article about it for the interpretive reading and a newscast for the interpretive listening. (Next year we will chose another natural disaster.) The students interviewed their teacher for the interpersonal. Then they took notes on their interview using their recording of the interview and used only their notes to write the presentational piece. Here is what I liked about the IPA:
- I feel like it really did test the students on what they could do at the end of the year. Students were happy to do it, and they seemed to be motivated.
- I liked putting the video/interpretive listening on Zaption. It allowed my students to stop and replay different sections on their own instead of waiting for me to finish and replay the whole video each time. I had my students write their answers on a piece of paper because students can go back and change their answer on Zaption. In the future, I plan on putting more listening quizzes on Zaption because that will allow that section to be more effective.
- I liked being able to interview students one on one during the interpersonal speaking. I felt that it was important for these students to talk to their teacher instead of just interviewing each other.
- It also gave me a good scope on what I would want to practice more. I felt that I was able to give feedback to all students about where to improve and their strengths. I know what to specifically target next year- which is a big piece of the IPA.
For next year, we are changing a few things:
- I want to combine the reading and listening. Since both pieces were about the same natural disaster, we could have had students watch/read both and then answer questions. I would still tell them if the answer was in the listening, reading or both. I hope that this will get the interpretive away from being repetitive (for example, I asked twice where the earthquake happened etc), and it will minimize the days that it took to complete the IPA. (This year it took 5 days, and it did seem to drag out.)
- Since we have multiple teachers of Spanish (and French), we are hoping to have the students interview all different teachers instead of just their own teacher. For example, all of the Spanish III classes would sit down with all of the Spanish teachers one afternoon instead of just me. This will also streamline the interpersonal piece.
- We also hope to complete this a bit earlier in the year, so the students will really sit down with the feedback. I have a feeling that many of my students did not read my notes, but they just looked at the grade.
- I want to move away from students’ ideas that they have to be perfect to get a perfect score. Many times their writing wasn’t 100% grammatically perfect, but they really were able to get their message across, and they showed minimal errors. This is moving away from the days of having them fill out too many verb charts which we are getting away from.
I am really excited about where my department is moving, and I feel that this gave me an even bigger push to move into the direction of proficiency. Also, a HUGE shout out to Sara-Elizabeth who is the one who started the ball rolling!