From Text to Hypertext

As part of their Spanish exam, students role play a literary character and create an oral presentation on a mobile application they have designed.


(1)   To emphasize the three modes of communication (interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive) through performance.

(2)   To increase students’ confidence to talk in a second language by giving them the opportunity to work in teams and speak in public. The holistic exam is designed to give students the chance to read, talk, and perform using real material to create meaningful output.  

Class: Spanish 50: Writing and Performance

Introduction/Background: As part of their second exam, students create an oral presentation in Spanish to introduce a new mobile application designed by the group. This activity will allow them to review Spanish grammar skills learned throughout the course, practice their oral and performance skills, and connect materials read in class.


  1. Before the exam
    1. Students will receive a detailed handout explaining the exam instructions and rubric through email. The handout will also be posted on the course webpage.
    2. Students will be divided into groups of three. For the exam, they are instructed to present a new mobile application they have designed.
    3. Three days before the exam, the teams have to submit a 3-minute video teaser of their application to the class website. The teaser will give some clues about the new application and generate “public” expectation.
    4. Two days before the exam, students will send in a copy of their presentation (Powerpoint, video, etc.) to the instructor. The instructor will review it and give some general feedback for grammar edits before the final presentation.
  2. On the day of the exam.
    1. Each team has 20 minutes to present their new mobile application. The presentation should be visually appealing and surprising. Each student has to perform the role of any literary character or author studied in the class and talk for approximately 4 minutes. During their performance, they should pay attention to their body language, Spanish grammar, voice, projection, and visual contact with the “public” in the class.
    2. Students are allowed to use any technological system they think is useful for their presentation (e.g. PowerPoint, Prezi, iMovie, etc.). For their performance/presentation, they are encouraged to use costumes and props.
    3. After the three members of the team have talked, they will open up a Questions & Answers session with the class. The class acts as the "public audience," and students in the "public" must continue role-playing their chosen literary character. This part of the exam assesses students' real and spontaneous grammar production.

Follow-up: Students will receive feedback and grades in the next class from the instructor.

Comments: Thenesoya noted that students are incredibly motivated to have an innovative exam that offers them the possibility to be creative in a sort of friendly competition atmosphere. Her advice for instructors is to know the students and give them the confidence to express themselves, making them love and enjoy the new language.

This type of exam can be used in any high-level foreign language acquisition class.


For more detailed information, see the attached handout.


spanish_50_exam.pdf78 KB