I’m doing in-person individual oral exams for my students. Two exams per semester. Thirty minutes each. Unscripted and spontaneous. I ask them about the material and the readings. They answer in Spanish. It’s a great way to give individual feedback one on one. It’s a big time investment for me. But it’s a great way to let them practice with me and know where everybody stands and how I can help them improve.
Colleagues started complaining that students cheat a lot. Especially since everything is online. But this is the perfect way to avoid any cheating. If you haven’t read the novel I assigned, you won’t be able to talk to me about it in Spanish for thirty minutes.
I cancelled the essay this semester. Who cares about the stupid essay? Instead, we read and talk, read and talk. I anticipate a dramatic improvement in everybody’s Spanish.
I have also provided a free tutor who offers speaking practice any time they need. Found funding, everything.
I’m trying to move more people towards oral testing. People are resisting because they believe students will contest the grades if the test isn’t in writing. First of all, who cares about the stupid grades? But also, nobody ever contests anything with me. Have some authority, gosh.