Shorter/Literal Questions. The test featured different kinds of constructed responses. First, I wanted to make sure that the students comprehended the basic, literal gist of the message, including vocabulary (L.9-10.4), so I asked a series of short, pointed short answer. (Note: I apologize for not having the full test for you to review, but it was lost in a hard drive crash on my computer! Hopefully, the links to the image shots will help you decide which parts of the test to use, if you decide on a similar format.) My theory is that there is a hierarchy of comprehension, and it's important to see if students understand the basics of the message when we assess their analysis of the rhetoric (RI.9-10.6)--which is the real purpose of this test--so that if there is any incomplete answer, I can diagnose where the meaning making did not happen.
Longer Questions on Rhetorical Strategies: I then ask a series of questions about what types of appeals Antony is using. As in this example constructed response (W.9-10.10), my goal is to see if the students can explain both what is being said and the broader purposes that Antony is operating under (RI.9-10.6). I am less concerned with student mastery of various types of jargon such as ethos/pathos/logos, even though these terms are featured in the questions, and I am more concerned with the students' abilities to explain and reason (W.9-10.2) the methods and techniques the writer is using.
I also include some more advanced questions in which the students must supply the examples and explain what they have noticed about the rhetoric in the speeches (RI.9-10.6) as in these examples constructed response #6 , #7, #9.
Just a quick note on the testing format. First of all, I allotted about 40 minutes for the test, and most students finished early. I did not allow the students to use reference materials or their computers during the test, even though these were available during our classroom time. The longer responses required them to think across texts anyway, and I was interested to see their deeper thinking in these short responses (W.9-10.10).
After the test, I will ask the students a few processing questions (SL.9-10.1) to see how they are monitoring their own learning of rhetorical strategies (RI.9-10.6):
1.) What have you learned about rhetoric and communication in this unit?
2.) Would you rather read Shakespeare in the typical method (lots of paraphrasing) or in this method (think about the rhetoric of the message) or both? What was the value of comparing to contemporary speakers?
3.) What contemporary movies, books, videos, songs, etc. do you think carry a strong rhetorical purpose? Similar to J.K. Rowling (believe in yourself) or Bono (save the world) or Antony (ironic messaging)?
4.) Now that you know so much about rhetoric, what do you think will be the benefits to you in the future?