Beyond exams and essays: Creative methods of assessment in Spanish and Latin American Studies

In Spanish our first-year cultural module ‘Icons of Spain and Latin America’ involves an assessment designed to help you understand what we’re looking for in university essays and how to improve your work. Students hand in their essay and we provide feedback, then the students use the feedback to develop their essay and resubmit it with a reflection on what they’ve done and how it’s helped. It’s great to be able to do this in the first year as you’ll need those essay writing skills all the way through your degree. It also helps you learn how to reflect on feedback and use it to improve your work (useful at university and beyond!). Students find this really helpful and often comment on how beneficial it was in the module feedback.

In our final-year module on dictatorships in South America, students take it in turn to write a blog post summarising the seminar reading and some questions they think it would be useful to discuss. This helps us to have really interesting discussions in the seminar, and students find the blogs are really useful resources for their revision.

In Spanish language, several of our modules have a ‘language portfolio’, where you submit activities throughout the year. Students create some of their own activities, so you can focus in on the areas of language learning you really want to improve (and let your creativity run wild if you like!). This helps you to work on developing specific skills gradually over the course of the year, which is important for language learning.