18 November 2008

High aptitude is a beautiful thing

I've been grading these Spanish 1 tests lately. This is the test (for some reason the clip art didn't publish well on Google docs). They did extraordinarily well on it. The average was somewhere around 32-33 out of 38 points possible. And keep in mind, all my tests are given with no warning at all. You may wonder why I'm so excited over it, but think about it--how many Spanish 2 (or even Spanish 3 students, ¿verdad?) could sit down, on the spur of the moment, and use es and está accurately to describe someone? Much less five times!

Anyway, as I'm reading through, I'm astounded by how well they do and how little grammatical explanation went into it. They still fight with the singular/plural difference, but still, there are certain kids who just pull it all off flawlessly. The thing that's most amazing is when I pause and stare at something and thought, I never taught them that. Some do things because they learned them elsewhere, but sometimes there's just enough evidence to believe it's acquisition in 14 weeks of Spanish 1. It's awesome for a linguist to look at hard evidence of what natural acquisition is and does--and with the high-aptitude students, we get to see it extra early. :)

1 comment:

Diane said...

I love what you're doing in your curriculum. How exciting! I still feel like I'm straddling two worlds in my high school classes. I teach using immersion, stories, TPR, music . . . but then I have to give common assessments. Although they are proficiency-based, there is a lot of isolated grammar, etc. I'm fascinated by the "no warning" tests. Of course, it makes perfect sense and is a much more valid assessment piece. Yet, it's still completely outside the "way things are done" --at least here in my public high school. When I taught at a private middle school, I had more freedom. How did you make the shift? School & parents supportive? I know your methods work, but how do you get others on board?
diane from foreignlanguagefun.com