Creative Writing is usually a fun class that allows students to be more inventive and imaginative with their writing. How, then, do you possibly assess students’ growth at the end of the class? In this post, I will share three ways you can give students a Creative Writing final exam or summative assessment.
Creative Writing Final Exam Idea #1: Portfolio
With a portfolio, students will determine which of their writing pieces from the class were their best. Then, they’ll assemble them together.
The pros of this final exam?
Theoretically, you won’t have to read any student writing for the first time. This will save you invaluable grading time during those last, precious few days of the year.
A portfolio will also force students to reflect on their own learning. Make them justify or explain each piece in their portfolio. This will show you what concepts students have learned and what skills they’re proud of having mastered.
This is also a final exam that should be difficult for students to fail. If they’ve done the work throughout the class, they’ll have plenty of pieces from which to choose. However, if they’ve slacked the entire class, it will obviously show in their final product–or lack thereof.
Creative Writing Final Exam Idea #2: Literary Terms Test
Giving a test is certainly a final exam classic. For a Creative Writing class, you can give one that focuses specifically on literary terms.
Throughout your class, you’ve no doubt covered and reviewed many terms as you’ve read and written with your students. Now’s the time to see what stuck.
If you give a test online through a tool like Google Forms, it can be graded instantly.
You won’t have to waste much time reading–which you might not have if you’re required to give an exam on the last day of school.
If you choose to do a test as a final exam because you’re short on time, try to make as much of the test multiple choice (or matching, fill-in-the-blank, or other easy-to-grade question styles) as possible.
This Literary Terms test is entirely multiple-choice for quick and easy grading. 15 questions are simple multiple choice. 20 questions are matching. And 15 are questions based on excerpts from texts.
The entire test is editable, and it also comes with a Google Forms version which can grade itself.
If you’re only giving a final exam because it’s required of you, a simple test might be the way to go.
Creative Writing Final Exam Idea #3: A Larger Writing Assignment
This is for Creative Writing teachers who don’t have to give a final exam on a specific day or who want a general summative assessment. Having students tackle a larger writing assignment might be the best way to assess and challenge students.
This larger writing assignment could be almost anything and will depend on the kinds of writing you’ve done in class already.
Students will learn and practice more writing while completing a new writing project.
(This version will, however, take you longer to grade. If you can’t give your final exam until the last day of class or have to turn grades around quickly, avoid this.)
While your final writing project could be anything, I’ll present two that work well.
First, an Author Study can be used for poetry or short story writing. If you really want students to focus on literary terms, analyzing literature, and examining mentor texts, this is the project for you.
Another classic writing project is the Fairy Tale Retelling Project. This project has some built-in differentiation and scaffolding making it a great choice if you have some struggling writers in class.
If you decide to go with a larger writing assignment as a final exam, start early. Students will probably need more time to finish than you think.
Also, give students an early due date. If you have to read entire short stories before the end of the year, you’ll want to make sure you have at least a week to do all of that grading.
For a Creative Writing final exam, be realistic about how much time your students will have to complete it and how much time you’ll have to grade it.
If you have to give a test and turn in grades within forty-eight hours of one another, a simple test will be your best option. Even if it’s not the most exciting assessment option for you or your students.
However, if you want students to end class engaged in something meaningful, a larger writing project might be the perfect capstone for your course.
Be realistic and make the choice based on your schedule.