How to Assess a Novel
I was recently asked a great question by a reader about assessment. Libby’s question was, “In your opinion, what makes for successful language assessment with novels?”
In my opinion, successful assessments of novel units allow students to show what they know about the novel, and the culture surrounding it. In my classes, these assessments are often performance based assessments, evaluated using a the language proficiency scale. Most often we will end a novel with both a presentational writing assessment, and an interpersonal speaking assessment. I like to keep these relatively open ended, giving students able opportunity to show what they know. This is opposed to having a typical test with multiple choice and true/false questions that sometimes try and trick students into second guessing what they actually know and remember. As a reminder, I am not an expert in teaching or assessing TPRS novels, just a teacher who is learning, growing, and figuring out what works and what does not for my students. Keeping that in mind here are some assessments that I have given at the conclusion of various novel units.
Presentational Writing & Interpersonal Speaking Assessments
|This student used an old ceiling tile to make this stunning art.
Even better she used Spanish to describe the deep meaning and symbols included.
My first time teaching La Calaca Alegre we did a presentational writing assessment and interpersonal speaking, but last year’s class asked if we could do a project to end the year instead. I used the great idea from Carrie Toth in the teacher’s guide to have a “Gallery Day.” The students created projects that represented their identity, which was a main theme of the book. We then had a gallery walk day, where all projected were displayed in the room, each student explained their project, and everyone else will asked questions. This combined both a presentational assessment (the students describing their project and how it related to the book) and interpersonal (students asking and answering questions during the gallery walk). To make it more fun you can have light snacks like an art gallery event on that day. The students liked doing something different, and we were able to have some pretty deep discussions about the students’ art, identity, and the book.
Choice Board Assessment
|Student projects for Robo en la noche|
Project Based Assessment
How to YOU assess novels? Please let me know in the comments!
Wany to learn more about teaching with novels?
Before you start…
- Research & Find Funding for novels in Spanish class
- Organize your novels
- 5 Tips for Teaching with Novels
- How to teach your 1st novel
- Teaching a Novel 101 – SSS
Teaching Whole-Class Novels
- how to teach a novel – a typical day.
- 20 activities for teaching with novels.
- post-reading ideas
- Mix it Up! Reading TPRS novels as a class
- Spice up your novel
- How to Assess a Novel
Other Ways to Teach with Novels
Ideas for specific Whole-Class Novels
(Sorted from easiest to hardest)
- El capibara con botas.
- Brandon Brown quiere un perro.
- Peter va a Colombia.
- El Silbón de Venezuela.
- El Ekeko.
- Fiesta Fatal.
- Bianca Nieves
- Robo en la Noche
- Noche de Oro.
- Felipe Alou
- Frida Kahlo.
- Problemas en Paraíso.
- La Llorona de Mazatlán
- Vidas Impactantes.
- Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha.
- La Calaca Alegre.
- Cajas de Cartón