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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Using Real Job Offerings as an Assessment Tool in Spanish CSL


by Ann Abbott

In my previous post I talked about some ways to connect Spanish CSL to a job search.

In this post, I want to share a way that I am asking students to do that as part of the curriculum.

I wanted to make a final exam for my "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" students that was meaningful, not just in exercise in proving that they could do a final exam. So this is what I have done.

1. I found this job listing on http://www.idealist.org/. (Update: the job ad expired at that link. You can read it here.) These are the things I liked about it and thought would add to the meaningfulness of the exercise:
  • It's real. I didn't want anything fake.
  • It's for a job in Mexico. Several of my students have expressed interest in at least considering the idea of working abroad.
  • It's got a good job title. The job title might intimidate some students, thinking they could never apply for that. However, resource-gathering and strategic alliances are all things that we covered in this course and that they did for their projects.
  • It's entrepreneurial. The position requires that a person be entrepreneurial for the good of the organization. This is spelled out explicitly in the "Selection Criteria." I believe that those are qualities that my students have displayed in their work in both "Spanish in the Community" and "Spanish & Entrepreneurship."

2. This is a take-home exam, and I wrote these instructions to my students:

Your exam consists of a 700-word cover letter for a real job ad. Please read the job description in the attachment below and follow the directions for how to write a cover letter. Please include specific examples from your work in SPAN 232/332 (along with any other pertinent information) in your cover letter; please consider the importance of your team projects, final presentations, research, etc. You may write the cover letter in English or Spanish.

This exam is an opportunity for you to synthesize and highlight all your work and talents.

Do you know how to write a good cover letter? Here are some resources:
http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Cover-Letter
http://www.career.vt.edu/JOBSEARC/coversamples.htm
http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/interviews/a/behavioral.htm (This link is about job interviews, but it explains the importance of using specific examples.)

3. I'm excited to read my students' cover letters and will let you know how they turn out!

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