I know this seems like a basic question, but I often don't feel like I am doing this correctly. I want to maximize my instructional time in class. I also want to do activities that are more effective (i.e., effective use of that instructional time). My district has a fast pacing guide and we are on block (4x4 block) with around 74 instructional days more or less per course / class term. So, I question the effectiveness of spending time going over class work and homework as an entire class. However, I question not going over answers as a class because that might increase student buy-in to do the work, increase the classroom rigor (i.e., the students put more effort into their work-the less focused students, that is), and maybe provide more relevance. There is also the issue of students tuning out when the class is going over answers as a class (i.e., the teacher calls on individual students to say their answers or come up to the front of the room and write their answers on the board). And then there are students that enjoy going up to the board and writing their answer. (It can be very time-consuming.)
In my native speakers class, they do a lot of written work. I collect it or it is submitted online (OneNote Class notebook). I generally just assign points for completion. I don't grade for accuracy on class work. In my mind, class work is for practice (I am not expecting perfection) and assessments are for grading accuracy.
In my non-native classes, the class work is assigned online (our district has online textbooks for Spanish 1-4 as well as AP Language through Vista Higher Learning). I usually only assign assignments that are autograded. So, the students get feedback on those autograded assignments on what they missed or got wrong and they usually have two attempts to get a 100% on the assignments that are autograded and after that 2nd attempt, the system tells them the correct answer (unless they are exercises that only have two options to pick from like T/F and 2 choices multiple-choice). I seldom grade not automatically graded activities for accuracy, but rather for completion. I do online assignments in the OneNote Class Notebook for these classes (although this term I am having the students take grammar notes from the textbook grammar tutorial videos, something more active than when I have presented the grammar videos in the past).
What is the "right" balance for all of this providing feedback, grading student work and when and how much going over answers as a class? Do you recommend any websites or books on this?
Thanks in advance for any insights you can provide me.
Vista Higher Learning offers a lot of autograded exercises. However, for AP Spanish Language (Temas), they don't have a lot of online activities. They have more autograded activities in the lower levels of Descubre / Senderos. There are more graded activities in the AP exam prep book with the multiple choice questions.
Public High School Spanish Teacher
Denair, California, USA
One thing that came to the forefront in reading my OPI materials later is that language learners can be at different proficiency levels for different modes of communication. Where are students generally weakest? Speaking. Students tend to be so freaked out about speaking assessments for this reason, and so what do most language teachers do? Give the questions ahead of time, have them practice them, allow them to use notes, etc. But deep down, we really want to assess for that more spontaneous communicative event. That's what I understand the "movement towards proficiency" to be about – right?
So how about we adjust the requirements of the speaking task down, but keep higher standards for other skills?
As an example, for a unit about describing your city in a Novice/Novice-Mid level class, perhaps a speaking assessment could include a prompt like "What kinds of places do you visit in your city every week?" and would only require students to name off and list places for successful completion – no grammatical accuracy requirements attached, just comprehensibility. However, a written task could be "Talk about what places there are in our city to your online pen pal" and require students to use some short sentences, and partially use gender agreement accurately. Something along those lines.