As I continue to balance how I assess novels and how I implement IPAs, I have played around with how I assess how students interpret the vocabulary that students are acquiring as well as the novel itself. For my upper levels, I typically could find an article that included a lot of the culture that we were covering in the book. This was particularly easy for books like Frida and Vector. However, I couldn’t do the same in my lower level classes. I really wanted to see what vocabulary that they were acquiring and not so much discrete facts from the book. In the past, I have searched for a story that re-used many of the words from the story that would be new for my students. That would be somewhat successful, and I was able to see what words and ideas that my students were really acquiring. However, it also would take a lot of time on my part to search (or create!) the story. I also like to give a practice run of their assessments to reduce anxiety and surprise, so I would have to find a story for the practice and a story for the assessment. That took even longer!
My level 1 students are reading La Familia de Federico Rico. I had been putting off giving a reading assessment because I was dreading searching for TWO new stories. Then, I decided to try a new approach (which was perhaps the obvious approach from the beginning-HA!) I selected a paragraph worth of sentences from a chapter to rewrite. I tried to represent a good part of the chapter, so students could use this for the comprehension and key word identification. However, I also left out key details in the paragraph.
Then, I asked students to write two more details in Spanish that weren’t included in the paragraph. I like this part because it is still testing their comprehension/interpretation of the chapter. They cannot rewrite any fact that I have written. It is also open-ended enough for them not to have to recall nitty gritty facts of the book. While I like interpretive assignments, I like interpretive assessments that require students to apply what they have read/heard even more. I told them that they could add on facts that occurred after the paragraph, but I wanted their facts to be related to the paragraph and not a completely different part of the book.
On this assessment, I ideally would use three paragraphs from the beginning, middle and end of the book. I had some students leaving early, so I stuck with two this time. #reality However, it was SO much easier than spending 3/4 of my prep looking for a story just to quickly write up some questions.
How do you assess interpretive reading during novels?