Yesterday I gave my freshmen and seniors the vocabulary words, literary terms, and Latin and Greek roots they'll need to learn for next week. Over the course of a 10-week quarter, students can expect to have about eight of these weekly quizzes.
The quiz consists of three components. The first is a story which utilizes 10 of the 11 vocabulary words they're assigned. The story is about 300 words long, and contains 10 blanks where the vocabulary words are supposed to go. There's a word bank, and students put the right word in each blank.
The next section involves defining and providing an example or examples of three literary terms. The final section asks students to define four roots, pick a word that contains that root, and use it correctly in a sentence.
I am creating the quiz for next week. After that, the students will take turns in pairs creating it each week. I provide students with instructions on how to make the quiz, and I make myself available before and after school to help them edit the quiz to ensure they followed the instructions. If they create a challenging, fair, and solvable quiz, the students each earn 100 for a quiz grade.
If they fail to make the quiz, they earn a zero. If they misuse a word or part of the quiz is unsolvable, the students lose 10 points for each error. The goal here is to create a coherent quiz that a student who has learned the words can succeed on, and one who hasn't will likely do poorly (i.e. a fair assessment).
Students e-mail me the quiz in electronic form, and I am easily able to: 1) edit it with them, and 2) reproduce it on paper.
The vocabulary words come from literature we're reading and a list of the most common words found on the SAT. It is common for students to mention that a word they learned for my class appeared in their biology or history textbook, or in another book they happened to be reading outside of class.
The literary terms and definitions all come from the Massachusetts Department of Education, and are terms they are likely to encounter on the MCAS test.
The roots come from the same list of common SAT words, as these "word parts" are used to comprise many of those words.
If you're interested in an example of one of these quizzes, leave me a comment and I can send one by e-mail. Next week I plan to post a PDF copy of the vocabulary quiz creation instructions on my English Teaching Resources page.
Enjoy the weekend. Go Pats!