4.6.3 Cloze 184.108.40.206 Scoring method 220.127.116.11 Text difficulty 18.104.22.168 Mutilation 4.6.4 C-test 4.7 Dictation and note-taking 4.8 Short-answer questions 4.9 Compositions and essays 4.10 Alternative testing items
Cloze refers to tests in which words are deleted mechanically. Cloze passages consist of texts longer than a sentence – usually at least a paragraph in length. 22.214.171.124 Scoring method One prominent issue is how to score learner’s response to cloze tests. ? The exact word method is practical and reliable, but it seems to be too rigid, in the sense that it doesn’t reward creativity on the part of the test-taker. ? The acceptable word method may promote positive washback, since it encourages creativity of the candidates. However, it could also dampen reliability.
The difficulty level of a cloze passage is determined by many variables. These include: ? The length of the text as a whole; ? The amount of time the learners are allowed to complete the task; ? The learner’s familiarity with the vocabulary and syntactic structures in the passage; ? The length and complexity of the sentences in the text. ? The learner’s familiarity with the topic and with the discourse genre of the text; ? The frequency with which the blanks are spaced.
fixed ratio deletion (nth word deletion) rational deletion Original When I was a boy, every holiday that I had seemed wonderful. My parents took me by train to the seaside. I played exciting games on the sands with other boys. We made houses and gardens, and watched the tide destroy them. When the tide went out, we lay on the rocks and looked down at the fish in the rock-pools.
fixed ratio deletion
When I was a boy, every holiday that I had seemed wonderful. My parents took me by _____________ to the seaside. I played __________ games on the sands with __________ boys. We made houses and ____________ , and watched the tide destroy____________. When the tide went out, _____________ lay on the rocks and ______________ down at the fish in ____________ rock-pools.
When I was a boy, every holiday that I had seemed wonderful. My parents took me _________ train___________ the seaside. I played exciting games _____________ the sands _________ other boys. We made houses and gardens, and watched the tide destroy them. When the tide went out, we lay __________ the rocks and looked down ________ the fish _________ the rock-pools.
C-tests also involve mechanical deletion, but this time it is every second word which is mutilated, and half of each mutilated word remains in the text in order to give the candidate a clue as to what is missing. Have you heard about a camera that can peer into the ground and ‘see’ a buried city? Or another th__ can he__ scientists est____ when a vol____ will er___? Still ano____ that c__ show h__ deeply a bu__ has go__ into fl___? (bump/burn, flesh)
Dictation can be fair to students if it is presented by tape. ? How marks should be
allotted becomes very difficult. ? It is time-consuming and boring to mark. ? Note-taking is a kind of dictation that is more authentic than most traditional dictations, but the problems with dictation still exist.
By ‘short-answer questions’ we mean that are openended, where the candidates have to think up the answer for themselves. The candidates must know what is expected of them It was John who saved my life. If it ____________________________________. The task would have been clearer like this: It was John who saved my life. If it ____________________, I would have died.
Sometimes students think they know what they are supposed to do, when they do not. For example, the following item was supposed to test students’ use of present perfect: Write two sentences containing ‘since’. Among the students’ answers were the following: ? Since it is the end of term, I am going on holiday. ? Since it was raining, they stayed at home
If an item writer requires the present perfect, that must be made clear in the instructions. Complete the following sentence, using the correct form of the verb ‘to be’ ? I ____________ here since yesterday. The marking of such items is often very difficult since there are frequently many ways of saying the same thing. This could otherwise be tested in a multiple-choice format: ? I ____________ here since yesterday. A. am B. was C. will be D. have been
At first sight, writing the prompts for written compositions seems very easy – much easier, for example, than writing multiple-choice questions. The following prompt is very common:
‘Travel broadens the mind’ (J. Smith) Discuss
The candidates may want to know: ? what is expected by the term ‘discuss’; ? how long the essay should be and whether marks will be deducted if it is too short; ? for whom this essay is to be written, so that they can decide whether it should be in a colloquial style or in a formal style; ? how the essay is to be marked
Candidates would have a better idea of how to approach this question if it was presented in the following way: Write a formal essay for your English teacher saying whether you agree with the saying, ‘Travel broadens the mind’. A. You should write about 200 to 250 words. B. Marks will be given for: ? structure of essay, e.g. the use of paragraphs (20%) ? appropriacy of style (20%) ? clarity of argument (20%) ? range of grammar and vocabulary (20%) ? accuracy of grammar and vocabulary (20%)
Some other examples of ‘bad’ topics ? Describe the legal system in your country ? You are lost in a blizzard. Describe how you try to find your way ? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of living at home during your time at college
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Individual tutorials Self-assessment and peer-assessment portfolios
4.6.3 Cloze 126.96.36.199 Scoring method 188.8.131.52 Text difficulty 184.108.40.206 Mutilation 4.6.4 C-test 4.7 Dictation and note-taking 4.8 Short-answer questio
ns 4.9 Compositions and essays 4.10 Alternative testing items