International Baccalaureate seniors are wrapping up their oral language exams that started March 25 and will end April 5. Five French students tested last week and 31 Spanish students are testing throughout this week.
For IB language exams, students are given a picture and then have 15 minutes to write down ten things to reference during the rest of the exam. They then talk about their respective picture for three to four minutes, followed by a conversation with their teacher about the overall topic. This is all recorded and then the recording is sent to IB Headquarters to be graded.
The pictures are related to two potential topics that each class has been discussing since the beginning of the year. For Spanish, their two potential topics were leisure and health and well-being in South America. The options for French were science and technology or culture.
Senior and Spanish student CJ Manne doesn’t see how his Spanish skills benefit from learning about health systems and leisure activities but understands how this form of examination is effective in measuring students’ ability to converse in Spanish.
“They want to test how you speak in a natural conversation,” Manne said. “They are testing how you can integrate complex ideas into your Spanish. I feel like I didn’t do as well as I could because I was so nervous that I was being recorded.”
These tests make up 20 percent of their overall IB grade for the program. Students were given an assigned time throughout the week for their test.