Spanish 1 TPRS midterm exam

I just corrected my Spanish 1 midterm exams and every student (except one) earned an A or an A+ on the exam. I actually brought them to a French classroom to take the test so that they could not read any words on the wall. Everything they wrote came from their own hearts. That one student who did not get an A was a student who often missed class and substituted the class experience for written “make-up work”… something that my district requires that I offer for all excused absences.

Before I made the switch to TPRS I used to brace myself each year for the inevitable dip in grades caused by final exams. I would console my highest-performing students explaining that, due to the comprehensive nature of the exam, it was “normal” to score a full letter grade worse than their class average. With the long lists of vocabulary and grammar concepts it was taken for granted that they would not remember everything I taught. I occasionally assigned projects to “pad” their grades, and despite the laughter and crazy moments that were always part of my classes I often wondered why many students ended the year disappointed and disparaging of the progress that they had made.

In contrast, this year my students left class giving me high-fives. I still have gathered realistic data about my students’ language abilities that will help me plan instruction for next semester. However, nowadays my class moves at the pace of acquisition, not at the pace of a textbook. There is no “teaching them to just get the gist of what I am saying” in my class because everything is comprehensible. I am constantly amazed at the power of comprehensible input. Here is how a middle-of-the-road student performed on my exam (click on the images to be able to read them):

span 1 mid p1 span 1 mid p2



    • Hi Diane,

      I actually brought them into a French classroom to take the exam so that they would not be able to reference the word walls in Spanish. I am really happy to say that they didn´t need it! I did assign a quizlet vocabulary review activity before the exam. Back in the old pre-tprs days I used to assign vocab lists of words that I wanted them to learn; now I occasionally give them lists of words that I believe they already have mastered. What a difference it made in their motivation and confidence coming into the exam. If you are interested here is the list, although I think it may be too long:

    • Thank you! I wanted to make sure I used a variety of question words; that is the main thing that I was testing. ¿Cuántos ojos tiene Justin (a student in class)? ¿Quién es el profesor de nuestra clase? ¿Qué está en mis manos? Of course they have heard so many questions that they breezed through that section. 🙂

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