It’s not easy to find a good assessment for first semester language courses, especially when it comes to speaking skills. Oral exams can be very stressful for learners and, often, these types of assessments don’t offer a clear window into the breadth and depth of learners’ capabilities.
For several years, Esmée van der Hoeven, lecturer in the Dutch Studies Program in the Department of German, has turned to a new type of assessment for the end of the semester–a final video project that engages students and showcases what they can do.
In the project, students work in small groups (3-4) to develop a story on a topic related to course material (e.g., Learning Dutch at Berkeley, Bon Appétit!, Nice Weather, Isn’t It?); write a script/screenplay complete with dialogues and interactions; and act/produce the final product. All the hard work is showcased in a “movie night” at the end of the semester where all the films are screened and celebrated.
The video projects allow students to demonstrate what they’ve learned over the semester, including oral skills, and to take ownership of their learning. In addition, the project allows students to develop and demonstrate additional skills, such as collaboration, communication to an audience outside the classroom, and video production.
Esmée provides students with multiple opportunities to workshop the various components of the project and for feedback–for instance, the project work begins mid semester, breaking the work down into smaller phases.
The students put together amazing projects, including these videos:
You can check out more of these videos on Esmée’s website.