Is the Test Worth the Stress?

Is the Test Worth the Stress?

As a student of either Latin or Spanish, you may be relived that the stress of taking the national language exams are over. For those of you who don’t know, a National Language Exam is an exam higher level language students take to see where they rank nationally. Currently, this is a test taken in the Spanish and Latin department. But, how did this tradition start?

The test was first introduced by the Spanish Department in 2006, and the Latin department followed suit soon after. Years prior to the exam, the Spanish department, lead by Senora Howell, attended a Spanish conference. There, students spoke in front of judges and had the opportunity to compete in several categories. These included topics such as impromptu speeches, reciting poetry, and dramatic presentations in which students performed a short skit or play.

In an interview with Spanish Department Head, Señora Howell, she explained that the reason she loved attending these two-day conferences was because it allowed students to experience and learn Spanish outside of the classroom. Attending the Spanish Conferences came to an end because it became too costly, but teachers wanted to students to have the ability to continue competing. The Spanish Conference was replaced with the NSE (National Spanish Exam).

Señora Howell explained that even though she misses attending the conferences, the NSE is good because it allows teachers to see in which category students need to improve, and students are able to see where they rank nationally. The system is the same in the Latin department.

“The National Spanish Exam shows both students and teachers the level of mastery of the Spanish language the students have acquired and how they rank nationally with their counterparts across the country,” said Spanish teacher Senora Dooley.

But do students like the exam as much as much as teachers do?

“I don’t mind taking the exam, and I think it’s cool to see how I did. This year I did much better because we learned more and it was easier to figure out the things I didn’t know,” says sophomore Sophia Gardinier.

“I thought the National Spanish Exam was a helpful tool see your level of Spanish comprehension. I learned that I can figure out the meaning of words through the context of the sentence,” shares sophomore Imola Csendes.

Junior Liz Gauhkman said, “I think it was hard, but its important for us to take it as practice.”

It would seem that, “yes,” the exams are worth the stress as they allow students some context for their studies. Overall, students seemed enthusiastic about taking the test, and agreed that it was a helpful exercise.