National Spanish Exam will no longer be administered to all students
The competitive nature of the National Spanish Exam has prompted changes to the Language Department’s use of the test
March 30, 2017
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The beginning of second semester brings a fresh grade book, a new schedule, and inevitably another round of the national language exams. This year, new changes are being instituted to the way the Language Department administers the Spanish national language exams.
Julia Gargallo, co-chair of the Language Department, believes it is important to distinguish the competitive nature of the National Spanish Exam.
“The national exams are not standardized tests, they are not tests like the SAT or ACT,” Gargallo said. “The national language exams are contests created by teacher associations.”
The competitive nature of the exams makes it difficult to accurately measure students’ scores as a national exam would. Some schools have every student take their respective language exam as opposed to other schools testing only those students with the highest scores.
“[The Language Department] decided that it was in the best interest of the students not to test everybody,” Gargallo said.
Due to the diverse range of test takers, the content of national language exams doesn’t always correspond to or even include material from the STA curriculum.
“Sometimes the St. Teresa’s curriculum that follows the textbook and the content of the contest is not the same,” Gargallo said. “The Spanish teachers feel that it is better for our students to stay with our curriculum than to change our curriculum so we could just perform well in the contest.”
Though the exam is beneficial to students’ practice of the language and offers opportunities to win awards with high scores, the additional testing can strain students.
“I believe that we don’t gain anything from giving extra exams to the students,” Gargallo said. “ I think it was totally unnecessary stress.”
Students who scored 50% or higher on the Spanish practice exam took the National Spanish Exam on Mar. 23 and 24 during their Spanish class.