Introduction to Language Testing

CHAPTER  I

INTRODUCTION TO LANGUAGE TESTING

  1. The definition of Language Testing

In plain words, testing or administering a test is a method of measuring a person’ s ability or knowledge in a given domain. It is a set of techniques, procedures or and items that constitute an instrument of some sort that requires performance or activity on the part of the test-taker (and sometimes on the part of the tester as well). A test is an instrument or procedure designed to elicit performance from learners with the purpose  of measuring their attainment of specified criteria.The method may be intutitive and informal or may be structured and explicit (Brown, 2001).

Language testing is the administration of test in order to assess and measure a person’s language competence and performance or testing language ability. It is an evaluation of an individual’s language proficiency.

  1. The relationship between language testing and language teaching

Tests have become a way of life in the educational world and tests are often used for pedagogical purposes, either as a means of motivating students to study, or as a means of reviewing material taught (Bachman, 1990). In every learning exprerience there comes a time to pause and take stock, to put our focal processes to their best use, and to demonstrate accumulated skills or knowledge. For optimal learning to take place, a good teacher never ceases to assess students, whether those assessments are incidental or intended. Thus language tests can be valuable sources of information the effectiveness of learning and teaching. Language teachers regularly use tests to help diagnose students’ strengths and weaknesses, to assess student progress, and to assisst in evaluating student achievement. As sources of feedback on learning and teaching,language tests can thus provide useful input into the process of language teaching  (Bachman, 1990).

  1. The purposes of administering tests

Tests may be constructed primarily as devices to reinforce learning and to motivate the student, or primarily as a means of assessing the students’ performance in the language (Heaton, 1975).

There are four reasons for having a test:

(1)   To indicate future ability

(2)   To discover what is already known

(3)   To discover what has been learned

(4)   To discover what is still to be learned (Bell, 1981)

  1. What to be tested

In the language testing, what to be tested includes assessing in the four major skills:

(1)   listening (auditory) comprehension, in which single utterances, dialogues, talks and lectures are given to the testee,

(2)   speaking ability, usually in the form of an interview, a picture description, and reading aloud,

(3)   reading comprehension, in which questions are set to test the student’s understanding of a written text

(4)   writing ability, usually in the form of essays, letters, and reports (Heaton, 1975)

In addition, items designed to test areas of the following components of the language skills:

(1)   phonology (concerned with pronunciation, stress and intonation)

(2)   vocabulary (concerned with word meanings and word arrangements)

(3)   grammar

(Heaton, 1975)

QUESTIONS AND ASSIGNMENTS

Answer the following questions briefly.

1.      What is a test?

2.      What is language testing?

3.      What is the importance of language testing in language teaching?

4.      To what language areas are tests designed?

5.      Explain the procedure of language testing.

6.      Do you think that testing is carried out only after the teaching is done? Why/Why not? Clarify your vanswer.

REFERENCES

Bachman, Lyle F. 1990. Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bell, Roger T. 1981. An Introduction to Applied Linguistics: Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. London: B. T. Batsford Ltd.

Brown, Douglas. 2001. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to language Pedagogy. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

Heaton, J.B. 1975. Writing English Language Tests. London: Longman Group (UK) Ltd.

CHAPTER 2

THE QUALITIES OF A GOOD TEST

The general learning objective:

Ø      To understand the basic notions of the qualities or criteria of a good test

The specific learning objectives:

Ø      To be able to mention the qualities of a good test

Ø      To be able to describe each of the qualities

Ø      To be able to analyze a test based on the qualities

  1. The essential qualities of a good test

When we evaluate a test we are forced to ask two fundamental questions: what does this test actually test? And how well does it do it? The test which measures what we measured and measures it in a manner which we find acceptable is a valid test. If it does this without significant variation when the examiners and other test conditions are not altered it is a reliable test. And, if it can do this with ease and economy, it is a practical test (Bell, 1981)

If we are to interpret the score on a given test as an indicator of an individual’s ability, that score must be both reliable and valid. These qualitiesare thus essential to the interpretation and use of measures of language abilities, and they are the primary qualities to be considered in developing and using tests (Bachman, 1990).

  1. The validity

The most important quality of test interpretation or use is validity, or the extent to which the inferences or decisions we make on the basis of test scores are meaningful, appropriate, and useful. In order for a test score to be a meaningful indicator of a particular individual’s ability, we must be sure it measures that ability and very little else (Bachman, 1990).

The vailidity is concerned with relevance: does the test actually measure what we want it to measure and does it do it well enough for us to have faith in the results? (Bell, 1981). If you are trying to assess a person’s ability to speak a second language in a coversational setting

There are four kinds of validity:

(1)   content validity:

If the tasks which the candidates are required to perform in the test are a true reflection of the skills which are actually required in real life, the test can be said to have content validity.

If you are trying to assess a person’s ability to speak a second language in a coversational setting, a test that asks the learner to answer a paper-and-pencil multiple-choice questions requiring grammatical judgements does not achieve a content validity. Instead, a test that requires the learner actually to speak within some sort of authentic context can be said to have a content validity.

(2)   construct validity:

If the test is able to satisfy some previously stated theoretical requirements, it can be said to possess construct validity (Bell, 1981). One way to look at construct validity is to ask the question “Does this test actually tap into the theoretical construct as it has been defined?”. “Proficiency” is a construct. “Communicative competence” is a construct. Virtually every issue in language learning and teaching involves theoretical constructs (Brown, 2001).

(3)   empirical validity:

If the test results correlate positively and strongly with some trustworthy external criterion, the test can be said to have empirical validity.

Time is normally taken as a key variable here- whether the correlation is carried out simultaneously or with some subsequent criterion- and this provides a subdivision of empirical validity into two varieties:

(a)   Concurrent (or status) validity

A typical example might be where a group of students is given the test and is immediately rated by an experienced teacher.

(b)   Predictive validity

We might give the students the test and, after a period of time has passed, have them rated again in some way.

(4)   face validity:

If the test is accepted as appearing to be appropriate by those who administer it and those who take it, it can be said to have face validity (Bell, 1981)

  1. The reliability

Reliability is a quality of test scores, and a perfectly reliable score would be one which is free from errors of measurement. There are  many factors other than the ability being measured that can affect performance on tests, and that constitute sources of measurement error. Individual’s performance may be affected by differences in testing conditions, fatigue, and anxiety, and they may thus obtain scores that are inconsistent from one occasion to the next. If, for example, a student receives a low score on a test one day and a high score on the same test does not yield consistent results, and the scores cannot be considered reliable indicator’s of the individual’s ability (Bachman, 1990).

Reliability is thus has to do with the consistency of measures across different times, test forms, raters, and other characteristics of the measurement context.

  1. The practicality

Practicality is concerned the useability of the test. Two parameters appear to be involved:

(1). Economy: the cost in time, money, and personnel of administering a particular test.

(2) Ease: the degree of difficulty experienced in the administration and scoring of the test and the interpretation of the test results.

Finally, the ideal test would be one which was reliable in that it provided dependable measurements, was valid in that it not only measured what it was supposed to measure, supported what we already believed about the nature of language and of learning and agreed with trustworthy outside criteria but also looked as though it dill all these things. In addition, it would be cheap and easy to use (Bell, 1981)

QUESTIONS AND ASSIGNMENTS

Answer the following questions briefly.

1. Mention the three qualities of a good test.

2. Explain what the test validity means.

3. Mention the four kinds of the test validity and explain each of them.

4. Explain what the test reliability means.

5. Explain what the practicality of a test means.

6. What are the two parameters involved in the test practicality?

7. Does a test having a good validity always have a good realiability? Why/Why not? Illustrate your answer.

8. Does a test which has its perfect validity and reliability always have a good practicality?

9. A dictation and a cloze test were administered as a placement test for an English course. What do you think of the test in terms of its validity, reliability, and practicality?

10. To measure writing ability, a test that asks the student to write as many words as they can in fifteen minutes was given and for the final score, the words were simply counted. What do you think of the test in terms of its validity, reliability, and practicality?

REFERENCES

Bachman, Lyle F. 1990. Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bell, Roger T. 1981. An Introduction to Applied Linguistics: Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. London: B. T. Batsford Ltd.

Brown, Douglas. 2001. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to language Pedagogy. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

CHAPTER 3

THE KINDS OF TESTS

The general learning objective:

Ø      To understand some kinds of tests

The specific learning objectives:

Ø      To be able to mention some kinds of tests

Ø      To be able to describe each of them

Ø      To be able to describe some advantages and disadvantages of using them.

A. The kinds of tests in a language crurricula

There are many kinds of tests, each with a specific purpose, a particular criterion to be measured. The following describes the five test types that are in common use in language curricula (Brown, 2001)

(1) Proficiency tests

Proficiency tests aim at toping global competence in a language. A proficiency test is not intended to be limited to any one course, curriculum or single skill in the language. Proficiency tests have traditionally consisted of standardized multiple choice items on grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, aural comprehension, and sometimes a sample of writing.

(2) Diagnostic tests

A diagnostic test is designed to diagnose a particular aspect of a language. A diagnostic test on pronunciation might have the purpose of determining which phonological features of English are difficult for a learner and should therefore become a part of a curriculum.

(3) Placement tests

A placement test aims at placing a student into an appropriate level or section of a language curriculum or school. A placement test typically includes a sample of material to be covered in the curriculum.

(4) Achievement tests

An achievement test is related to directly to classroom lessons, units, or even a total curriculum. Achievement tests are limited to particular material covered in a curriculum within a particular time frame, and are offered after a course has covered the objectives in question. It is to determine acquisition of course objectives at the end of a period of instruction.

(5) Aptitude tests

An aptitude test is a test that predicts a person’s future success. A language aptitude test is designed to measure a person’s capacity or general ability to learn a foreign language and to be successful in that undertaking.

B. Subjective and objective testing

Subjective and objective testing are terms used to refer to the scoring of tests. All test items, no matter how they are devised, require candidates to exercise a subjective judgement; the testees must think what to say and then express his ideas as well as possible. Whereas in objective testing, a testee will score the same mark no matter which examiner marks his test (Tuckman, 1975). The discussion of this kind of tests will be presented in the next chapter.

C. Teacher-made tests and standardized tests

A teacher-made test is a test designed by the teacher to meet his or her own course objectives. The teacher prepares the test items to fit the instructional objectives and uses the items in classroom setting. It is usually built without careful and thorough analyses and considerations how the test should be. It also constitutes a major portion of the school testing program (Tuckman, 1975).

Whereas a standardized test means a test for which comparative norms have bee derived, their reliability and validity have been established, and directions for administration and scoring prescribed (Ary, et.al., 1990). A standardized test is a test designed to provide a systematic sample of individual performance, administered according to prescribed directions, scored in conformance with definite rules, and interpreted in reference to certain normative information (Tuckman, 1975). It possesses three properties:

(1) items that have been tried out, analyzed, and revised, (2) widspread and standard use and reuse, and (3) the availability and use of norms for interpretation (Tuckman, 1975).

D. Written tests and oral tests

A written test is a test in which the test items and their answers are written. While an oral test is a test in which the test items and their answers are given orally.

E. Individual tests and group tests

An individual test is a test that can be administered to only one person at a time, whereas a group test is a test that may be administered to a number of individuals at the same time by one examiner (Tuckman, 1975).

F.  Criterion- referenced achievement tests and norm-referenced achievement tests

A criterion-referenced achievement test is a test designed to measure the degree of proficiency attained on a given set of objectives . One of its examples is a teacher-made test. This helps the teacher to monitor student progress, diagnose strengths and weaknesses, and prescribe instructions.

A norm-referenced achievement test is a test designed to provide a systematic sample of individual performance, administered according to prescribed directions, scored in conformance with definite rules, and interpreted in reference to certain normative information (Tuckman, 1975). One example is a standardized test.

QUESTIONS AND ASSIGNMENTS

Answer the following questions briefly.

1. Mention the kinds of tests commonly found in language curricula.

2. Describe each of them.

3. What is the meaning of:

a. objective testing

b. subjective testing

4. What is the meaning of an individual and group test? Give examples of each of them.

5. Mention some examples of standardized tests.

6. What are some advantages and disadvantages of using teacher-made tests and standardized tests?

REFERENCES

Ary, Donald, et.al. 1990. Introduction to Research in Education. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Brown, Douglas. 2001. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

Tuckman, Bruce W. 1975. Measuring Educational Outcomes: Fundamentals of Testing. Harcourt Brace Javanovich, Inc. CHAPTER 4

THE OBJECTIVE AND SUBJECTIVE TESTING

The general learning objective:

Ø      To understand objective and subjective testing

The specific learning objectives:

Ø      To be able to explain the meaning of objective and subjective testing

Ø      To be able to mention some kinds of objective and subjective testing

Ø      To be able to describe some advantages and disadvantages of using them.

I. The objective testing

Objective testing are usually found in short-answer items. The short-answer items include (Tuckman, 1975)

(1) unstructured format

This format utilizes a question that can be answered by a word, phrase, or number.

Examples:

a. Where do rain forests grow?

b. What is unusual or unique about rain forests?

The most attractive features of this format are:

a. It minimizes the likelihood of guessing

b. the student is not given clues as in multiple choice item

c. it is a relatively easy type of item to write since the test maker does not have to think of alternative anwers.

The undesirable aspects of this format has to do with scoring (keying and correcting) because the unsructured items invite any number of answers, many of which resemble the correct one to some degree. For example, the question ‘What chemical is often added to drinking water to help prevent tooth decay?’ may invite answers such as fluorine, fluoride, sodium fluoride, fluride, and many more. In scoring, the teacher will have to decide what the student had in mind. Mind reading adds a difficult dimenstion to item scoring.

This format works best for the measurement of specific knowledge, most commonly in math, science, and history.

To write an unstructured item, we should:

a. write the item so that the correct response will require the fewest words possible.

b. keep the item itself brief and to the point so that one response and only one will suffice as the correct response.

c. write the item in the simplest language

d. write the item in question form rather than statement form

(2) completion format

The completion or fill-in item format is also a free choice format that the students must construct their own response rather that choose from among given choices. It requires the student to fill in or complete a sentence from which a word or phrase has been ommitted.

Examples:

a. “Give me liberty and give me … ” was the pronouncement of a famous American revolutionary.

b. … produces more copper ore than any other state in the Union.

The completion format has many of the same advantages and disadvantages as the unstructured response format. Completion items when properly written are easier to score. They should have a single correct answer, preferably a word or short phrase. The completion items are useful in measuring the acquisition of specific knowledge.

(3) true-false (yes-no) format

This format provide two response choices. These two-choice items often include the options :”true-false” or “yes-no”.

Examples:

a. Australia, the island continent, was discovered by Columbus.      (TRUE/FALSE)

b. Sydney is the capital of Australia

(TRUE/FALSE)

c. Below are a list of plural animal words. Circle YES for those that have been done properly and NO for those that have been done improperly.

Oxes                     YES    NO

Deer                     YES    NO

Mouses                YES    NO

Bear                      YES    NO

Monkeys               YES    NO

One big advantange of true-flase items is that they are the easiest type of item to write and can be answered quickly by students. True-false items are best used for measuring the recognition of fact. They are considered to work well in the measurement of objectives that call for discrimination between absolutes, requiring the student to distinguish or discriminate between statements of correct and incorrect fact or interpretation. Their biggest weakness is perhaps the matter of guessing. The purpose of a test is to measure what students are capable of, not how lucky they are. To write this kind of test, we should avoid giving too many clues or to build in tricks and to avoid the use of absolute terms like ‘always’ and ‘ never. We should write only true items and then afterward turn about half of them around to make false items. Also, the items should be placed in a random order and include only a single major point in each item.

(4) twochoice classification format

In most cases, these formats ask the student to apply classification to a set of stimuli as shown in the examples below.

Examples:

  • Underline the words that could be used as verbs and draw lines through ones that could not:

a. eat  c. wrist            d. flew             e. myself

b. cat   d. knit              e. helps           f. were

  • Use a or an before each word:

… oak              … hour

… ear              … mountain

… uniform       … orange

… umbrella     … MP

This format usually fits the task of a one-variable, two-level classification. The task of classification can normally be cast into at least two categories- the presence of a quality versus its absence. It works best for factual knowledge, is susceptible to guessing, and is invalidated by ambiguous items. This format is useful and stimulating means of measuring knowledge acquisition.

To write this test item, we should make sure that the category to be used is clear and distinct from other potentially confusable categories. Also, we should make the stimuli to be classified clear instances or noninstances of that category. Identify the classification category first and then thinking of exemplars (correct choices) and nonexemplars (incorrect choices).

(5) multiple choice format

The multiple choice format is the most commonly used short-answer format. It typically offers from three to five alternative answers of which one is correct; the rest are incorrect choices. Well-constructed multiple choice items have the potential to measure comprehension and application.

These test items are easier to score and easier to analyze in terms of patterns of incorrect responses, however, they are difficult to write because:

A. they demand plausible response options

B. they usually require some preliminary testing, analysis, and refinement in order to sharpen the contrast between incorrect choices.

A shortcoming of this test item is that the correct answer can sometimes be determined without any prior knowledge or instruction. A certain degree of success on multiple choice items can be obtained through guessing.

In writing this test, the most critical part of the construction of a multiple choice item is the selection of the response alternatives- the correct answer and the incorrect choices, especially the selection of incorrect choices. Not only should incorrect choices separate correct performance from incorrect performance, they should also help diagnose the kinds of incorrect notions that students have acquired. To write the item, we should:

A. consider the kinds of mistakes a student is likely to make and use them as a basis for writing the incorrect response choices.

B. construct incorrect choices that are, in fact, incorrect.

C. construct incorrect answers that are comparable in length, complexity, and grammatical form to the correct answer.

It is important to avoid giving clues in the construction of response alternatives. The purpose of an item is to measure what a student knows and understands and not how clever a test taker or he or she is.

D. write the questions and choices in language that your students can understand.

E. state the items so that there can be only one interpretation of their meaning.

F. avoid the use of such words as ‘always’, ‘never’, and ‘all’ whenever possible in constructing response choices.

G. not provide extra clues to correct answer within the item statement itself.

H. not test more than one points in a single item, however, multiple points can be made in a single item, where appropriate, by providing choices that specifically include two or more of the choices already given.

I. vary the location of the correct choice on as random basis as possible as possible, after the test items are written.

J. write short, unique from one another, and not specifically clued by the questions for the response alternatives (Tuckman, 1975)

K. write options in a correct grammar, except course in the case of specific grammar test items.

The initial part of each multiple choice item is known as the stem; the choices from which the students selects his answers as referred to as options/responses/alternatives. One option is the answer, correct option or key, while the other options are distractors.

The primary purpose of the stem is to present the problem clearly and consicely. It should reveal a very general idea of the problem and the answer required. The stem may take the following forms:
A. an incomplete statement:

e.g. She is thinking of … the cost of the workshop.

A. negotiate   B. negotiating           C. to negotiate           D. negotiates

B. a complete statement:

e.g. Indians and Asians share a common and distinctive pattern in the arrangement of teeth.

A. new            B. simple                    C. different                 D. particular

C. a question

e.g. Why does the man go to see his professor?

A. To borrow a reference book.

B. To ask a question about the material.

C. To get advice about studying for a test

D. To pick up some handouts from the class.

The correct option should be clearly the correct or best option. It is very important, however, to avoid confusing the student by having a different number of correct options for each items, and this practice is not recommended. The correct option should be approximately the same length as the distractors.

Each distractor, or incorrect option, should be reasonably attractice and plausible. It should appear right to any testee who is unsure of the correct option. Each distractor should be grammatically correct when it stands by itself. Distractors should not be too difficult nor demand a higher proficiency than the correct option (Heaton, 1975).

(6) matching

Matching items deal with multiple questions or stems and multiple responses at the same time. These items are intended to measure the student’s ability in distinguishing similar ideas or facts.

Examples:

A.        was son of a president                    1. Andrew Jackson

B.        wrote America’s Independence      2. John Quincy Adams

Declaration                                        3. Thomas Jafferson

C.        won the Battle of New Orleans        4. Ronald Reagan

5. Bill Clinton

These items enable the teacher to cover a lot of ground in single item therefore it represents a certain degree of efficiency. However, matching items also have shortcomings; they are difficult and time consuming to write well.

To write these items, we should deal first with common elements of a single category (e.g. all leaders, all parts of flower, etc.). Secondly, avoid cluing or giving clues where possible. This is a rule for writing any type of test items, particularly those whose response options are given. Next, keep the responses short, makes the responses short, make them distinct and nonoverlapping, provide plausible inncorect responses that do not match with any stem (Tuckman, 1975).

II. The subjective testing

In subjective testing or essay items, the student structures and composes his own response within relatively broad limit. These items enable him (A) to apply knowledge, (B) to analyze, (C) to synthesize, and (D) to evaluate new information in the light of his knowledge.

A.     Essay items to measure application:

These items require the student use knowledge that has been acquired to describe a way of dealing with a concrete situation. In writing the items, we should provide or present a concrete situation, some actions to be taken or choice to be made in the situation to accomplish a given task. All is based on knowledge that has been transmitted.

Example:

You are interested in a summer job and have learned of one as a camp counselor that interests you. Write a letter in proper form to the director of the camp describing yourself and why you want the job. You will be graded on the basis of how clear, interesting, and well-written your letter is, on its neatness, form, and spelling, and how convincing you are.

This kind of item is subdivided into three:

1.      situation parts: the statement of the situation

2.      problem parts: the statement of the situation

3.      response instructions: minimum or maximum length, specific points to be covered or performance required (explaining a solution, stating the number of suggested solution, etc.), and various criteria for evaluating performance such as organization of material, neatness, and spelling.

B.     Essay items to measure analysis:

These items are to identify elements or parts of concepts or objects, relationships between the parts, or organizational principles among the parts.

Example:

  • Identify four reasons why Hamlet did not kill King Claudius until the end of the play despite his commitment to do so at the beginning. Describe how you determined what these reasons were.
  • You have just heard a story about a girl who was severely and unfairly punished. Describe some of the feelings that such punishment might have aroused in her. Can you think of times in your own life when you had these feelings? Describe one such time.

An analysis item typically include:

1.      a situation or setting: containing elements, relationships, or organizational principles to be analyzed

2.      response instructions: identifying certain elements, relationships, or organizational principles and describing the basis by which analysis was accomplished and then comparing/contrasting

These items are useful for measuring students’ intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic experiences and provide a basis for determining whether the students can analyze component ideas and feelings contained in and provoked by the experience.

C.    Essay items to measure synthesis:

A synthesis item deals with the production of:

  • a unique communication (like a story)
  • a plan or proposed set of operations (like a machine)
  • a set of abstract relations (like a theory)

Examples:

  • Add a second verse of four lines to the verse written below:

Men cannot swim

As fishes do

They only slave

A hard way through

  • Suppose you have been put in charge of raising money to build a clinic aimed at providing health services for the poor people in your community. Plan and describe a promotion campaigne for soliciting donations.

A synthesis item consists of a statement of problem in which the students are to create new and unique thoughts and productions, and response instructions in which the students are familiarizing themselves with the task, exploring different interpreting and analyzing relevant materials, and trying out various schemes and organization.

It is preferrable to have synthesis items in a form of a take-home examination rather than a conventional classroom test. The synthesis should be measured under conditions favorable to creative work in which untimed tests, instructions reinforcing the idea that creativity or novelty or originality is to be achieved.

D.    Essay items to measure evaluation:

An evaluation item deals with making judgements about the value of ideas, works, solutions, methods, material, etc. The criteria for the evaluation include accurate, effective, economical, satisfying, etc.

Example:

Write an essay of 250-300 words, evaluating the poem given below. The evaluation should include, for example, the poem’s structure, meter, organization, form, meaning, and symbolism. Your principles of evaluation should be made clear. Take time to organize your essay carefully. Save time for revisions and proofreading so that the essay as it appears in your examination booklet represents your best intention. It is suggested that you give twenty minutes to planning, eighty to writing, and twenty to revising your essay. Please try to write legibly.

Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part;

Nay, I have done, you get no more of me,

And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart

That thus so cleanly I myself can free;

Shake hands forever, cancel all our vows,

And when we meet at any time again,

Be it not seen in either of our brows

That we one jot of former love retain.

Now at the last gasp of love’s latest breath,

When, his pulse failing, passion speechless lies,

When faith is kneeling by his bed of death,

And innocence is closing up his eyes,

Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,

From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.

Evaluation items contain:

  1. that which is to be evaluated
  2. response instructions: criteria that are to be used in the evaluation

E. Criteria for scoring essay items

In essence, scoring an essay item confronts the teacher with the task of evaluation, a process that requires criteria. These criteria include:

  1. content criterion:

It deals with only the presence of knowledge and its accuracy to conclude that he or she knowlegeable in the area of the essay.

  1. organization criterion

It deals with the organization of the essay (introduction, body, and conclusion), logical mind, grammar, spelling, etc.

  1. process criterion

It deals with the adequacy of the solution and the adequacy of reasons behind it, accuracy or reasonableness, completeness and consistency, and originality or creativity.

QUESTIONS AND ASSIGNMENTS

A. QUESTIONS

Answer the following questions briefly.

1. What is the meaning of:

A. objective tests

B. subjective tests

2. Mention some examples of:

A. objective tests

B. subjective tests

3.      Mention the criteria for scoring essay items.

4.      Describe some advantages and disadvantages of:

A.     objective tests

B.     subjective tests

C. ASSIGNMENT

Study the following passage and then construct the following items based on the passage:

  1. unstructured
  2. completion
  3. true-false
  4. two- classification
  5. multiple choice
  6. matching
  7. application
  8. analysis
  9. synthesis
  10. evaluation

POSSESSED BY LOVE
by Ellen Sherman

No one could understand because not even her closest friends knew that Kathrine Keats’ true name was Ellen Christian Munger, and that for 21 years, she had been hiding from a man who had worked with her, loved her, and ultimately become bent on destroying her.

Munger gerw up in Evansville, Indiana, the youngest of three and the “star” of the family. By her late teens, she was an accomplished singer and musician. In 1978, at 18, she moved to New York to pursue a career in theatre and was soon called to audition for the successful off-Broadway show Let My People Come.

At the audition, she watched a man play the piano with impressive virtuosity. He was Ken Ford, the show’s 32-year-old musical director. That day, the two began a musicalcollaboration that would continue for years. Soon, she and Ford were living together.

But in the couple’s second year together, Munger noticed a troubling shift in Ford’s personality. He often abused her. After that, he went to her and begged her for forgiveness. Meanwhile, the pair continued to tour with the show and enjoyed weeks of tenderness and creativity together. Munger covered her bruises with make-up and long sleeves and told no-one about her plight.

One might after the show, he grabbed her and twisted her arm. When she tried to flee, he held up a bottle he’d broken in the sink. He used the glass to cut himself and spread blood on her arm.

For the next 54 days, Ford held her captive in their apartment.He bound her hands and feet her with leather belts, and when she struggled, beat her.He disconnected the phone lines, and allowed her to eat only tomato soup, which he would crush a cigarette butts into.

Finally, one afternoon in the spring of 1984, Ann Carlin, who had assumed that her sister was on an extended tour out of town, drove to Munger’s apartment and rang the bell. When Ford opened the door a crack, Carlin caught a glimpse of her sister, covered in blood.She ran to a nearby pay phone and called the police. Munger was taken to a safe house run by the Alameda Victim/Witness Assistance programme. Ford continued to search for her, even he often disguised himself and approached the house. With the help of the Victim/Witness Assistance programme, she legally changed her name to Kahtrine Keats. She the started training as a paralegal, and by the time Ford was released, Ellen Munger was gone.

All that remained was the fear. As long as Ken Ford walked free, Keats believed her life was in danger. As time passed by, Keats spoke to no-one from her past aside from family members and a few trusted childhood friends. She got a job in film financing and slowly made new friends, always keeping her background vague. In 1988, she met a man who interested her- Richard Conti, a printing executive. After a year, she told Conti the truth about her past and in 1993 they were married and had two sons.

The nightmare still haunted Keats that she thought Ford would find her and kill her. But end it finally did. In May 2005, she learned from an old friend’s call that Ford, who had been living on the streets of Philadelphia, had died a year earlier of a lung cancer. Her hell was finally over.

She then started to sing and write again. She cried out of relief, because she was finally free. She is now 47, and has written a number of songs and performed  them in cabarets in Los Angeles, San Fransisco, and New York. She has completed a CD, After the Silence. In the end, after so long, Ellen Munger and Kathrine Keats have finally become one.

(Adapted from Possesed by Love by Ellen Sherman, Reader’s Digest, May 2007, p.p.98-105

CHAPTER 5
TESTING THE LANGUAGE SKILLS

The general learning objective:

Ø      To understand and use some kinds of tests on language skills

The specific learning objectives:

Ø      To be able to mention some kinds of tests on language skills

Ø      To be able to describe each of them

Ø      To be able to construct tests on language skills

I. Listening tests

There are mainly two kinds of listening or auditory tests:

A.     Phoneme discrimination tests and of sensitivity to stress and into nation:

Examples:

1.      Production:

Pronounce the following by pushing the lips forward and blowing out with a voiced sound.

a.      west

b.      way

c.      between

d.      twenty

2.      Comparison:

Which word is spoken by the man?Circle the corresponding word being spoken.

a. west         –           vest

b. wine         –           vine

c. worse       –           verse

d. went         –           vent

3.      Phrasing and intonation
Pronunce each phrase/sentence and use the appropriate intonation.

a.      white wine

b.      somewhat wet

c.      when and where?

d.      Which do you prefer, white wine or red?

e.      He painted all the woodwork white.

B.     Listening or auditory comprehension tests

Examples:

1. Look at the given pictures, select the appropriate picture being describe by the speaker.

(Spoken) Both car doors are open. It’s daylight but both headlamps are on. The man who’s repairing the car is lying underneath it. Although the boy sees the man working hard, he does not help him.

2. Listen to the following conversation and choose the best option.

(Spoken) “Would you like to watch TV tonight, Tina?”

“No, John. I’m looking forward to a game of

Chess. What about you?

“I’m not worried as long as we do something.

Let’s do what you want.”

a.      John doesn’t really mind what he does.

b.      Tina wants to look at TV.

c.      John doesn’t want to play chess.

d.      John won’t be worried for long if he is with Tina.

II. Oral production tests

Oral communication is generally rated so highly in language learning.

Examples:

a.      Using pictures for assessing oral production:

Look at these pictures and tell what is happening.

b.      Oral interview:

You are having a job interview. As a candidate, you must answer the questions given by the interviewer.

c.      The short talk:

You are asking for information about where the post office is.

d.      Group discussion

Discuss the following topic with your group and present the result of the discussion in class:

“Do demonstrations serve any really useful purpose?”

e.      Role-playing

With your partner, make a dialogue based on the following situation:

You are examining a patient. The patient is complaining of a shooting pain in his/her tooth. He/She has got swollen gum. He/She has suffered from a gum infection. You are then explaining how to administer the medication.

III. Reading comprehension tests

The reading tests usually deal with the ability to:

A.     distinguish between letters and recognize letter-sound relationships:

Example:

Pan/man/fan, etc.

B.     Recognize words and words groups, requiring an ability to associate sounds with their corresponding graphic symbols and understand meaning:

Example:

/kau/=cow, “kan:t/=can’t, etc.

C.    Understand words and words groups in the context in which they appear:

The man is wearing false hair.

D.    Recognize structural clues and comprehend structural patterns:

I wish she had come.

E.     Comprehend the meaning of a sentence and any complete sequence of words:

The player kicked off the ball.

F.     Percieve relationships (temporal and spatial) and sequences of ideas (as denoted by linkage nad reference features):

Although it was raining heavily, everybody went on picnic.

G.    Comprehend paragraphs and longer units of prose and select the main idea and other features:

H.     Scan and read for specific information:

I.         Read critically:

The following is examples of reading tests:

A.     Matching

Match the following sentences with the suitable expressions

1.      The man died because …

2.      The woman doesn’t have any saving accounts although …

a.      she earns a great deal of money.

b.      the car he was driving hit the big trucks.

B.     True/False

Say whether the following statement is True or False:

1. When ice melts, it turns into water.                      …

2. The sun rises in the west.                                      …

C.    Multiple choice

Choose the best option.

1.      In spite of the loud music, I soon managed to fall asleep

a.      The loud music soon helped me to fall alseep.

b.      The loud music made me unable to fall alseep.

c.      I soon fall alseep although the music was aloud.

d.      I soon fall alseep as a result of the loud music.

D.    Completion

Complete the following sentences.

1.      The man lives at …

2.      He wrote the letter on …

E.     Cloze procedure

Once upon a time a farmer had three sons. The farmer was rich and had mani fields, but his sons were lazy. When the farmer was dying, he called his three sons to him, “I have left you … which will make you … ” he told them. “But … you must dig in all … fields to find the … where the treasure is … ”

IV. Writing tests

The writing tests may consist of:

A.     Letter-writing

Example:

Study the following job-vacancy advertisement and write an application letter to the personnel manager of the company.

B.     Report-writing

Example:

You are attending a workshop on ‘Research on English Literature’ and write a report on that.

C.    Paper-writing

Example:

Write a paper on the following topic: Do men drive better that women?

The evaluation of the writing perfomance covers:

A.     Grammatical skill:

It is the ability to write correct sentences.

B.     Stylistic skill:

It is the ability to manipulate sentences and use language effectively

C.    Mechanical skill:

It is the ability to use correctly those conventions peculiar to the written language, e.g., spelling and punctuations

D.    Judgement skill:

It is the ability to write in an appropriate manner for a particular purpose with a particular audience in kind, together with an ability to select, organize and order relevant information.

QUESTIONS AND ASSIGNMENTS

A. QUESTIONS

Answer the following questions briefly.

1. What listening skills are covered in the listening tests?

2. Give some different kinds of listening tests.

3. What speaking skills are covered in the speaking/oral production tests?

4. Give some examples of oral production tests

5. What reading skills are covered in the reading tests?

6. Give some examples of reading tests.

7. Give some examples of writing tests.

8. The evaluation of students’ writing performance is based on … .

B. ASSIGNMENTS

Read the following passage and construct some different kinds of objective and subjective tests of:

1.      Listening tests

2.      Oral prodution tests

3.      Reading tests

4.      Writing tests

A TRULY BEAUTIFUL MIND

By Judith Rauch

Albert Einstein was born on March 14,1879, in the southern German city of Ulm, without any indication that he was destined for greatness. On the contrary, his mother, a housewife named Pauline, thought Albert was a freak. To her, his head seemed much too large.

At the age of two-and-a-half, Einstein wasn’t talking. When he finally did learn to speak, he uttered everything twice. Einstein did not know what to do with other children, and his playmates called him “Brother Boring”. So the youngster played by himself much of the time. He especially loved mechanical toys. Looking at his newly-born sister, Maja, he is said to have asked: “Fine, but where are her wheels?’

In contrast to the widely circulated legend, Albert Einstein was not a bad pupil. He went to secondary school in Munich, where his family had moved when Einstein was 15 months old, and made good marks in almost every subject. But Einstein hated the school’s regimentation and often clashed with his teachers, ‘Your very presence robs me of respect in class,” one teacher told him. At the age of 15, Einstein felt so stifled there that he left for the school for good.

The previous year, Albert’s father had transferred his electro-technical firm to Italy. He and Pauline moved to Milan, and left their son with relatives. After prolonged discussion, the younger Einstein got his wish to continue his education in German-speaking Switzerland. The climate in the city of Aarau was more liberal than in Munich.

Einstein was highly gifted in mathematics and interested in physics, and after finishing school, he decided to study at a university in Zurich. But the science was not that appealed to the dashing young man with the walrus mustache. He also felt a special interest in a fellow student, Mileva Maric, whom he found to be “clever creature’. This young Serb had come to Switzerland because women were allowed to graduate there. Einstein saw in her an ally against the “philistines”- those small-spirited people in his family with whom he was constantly at odds.

The couple fell in love. Letters survive in which they express their affection with a mixture of science with tenderness. Wrote Einstein: “How happy and proud I shall be when we both have brought our work on relativity to a victorious conclusion.” …

(Taken from ‘Judith Rauch’s A Truly Beautiful Mind, Reader’s Digest, April 2005, page 82-5)

CHAPTER 6

TESTING THE LANGUAGE COMPONENTS

The general learning objective:

Ø      To understand some kinds of tests of language components

The specific learning objectives:

Ø      To be able to mention some kinds of tests of language components

Ø      To be able to describe each of them

Ø      To be able to contrsucts good tests of language components.

  1. Tests of Grammar and Usage

Items which appear in a test of grammar and structure should me made as natural as possible. The tests of grammar and structure may consists of:

A.     Structure recognition tests

Example:

Don’t talk so loudly; my baby …

    1. sleep
    2. sleeps
    3. is sleeping
    4. will sleep

B.     Error recognition tests

Example:

My car had broken down, so I went there by foot.

A                     B      C              D

C.    Word order items

Example:

“Won’t I need a coat?”

“Well, you know how … ”

A.     today is it warm

B.     to day it is warm

C.    warm it is today

D.    warm is it today

D.    Completion items:

Examples:

1.      The old man enjoys looking … the children play hides and seeks.

2.      It’s a long time since … .

E.     Transformation items

Example:

In sunny weather, I often go for a walk.

When the weather …

II. Tests of Vocabulary

The vocabulary tests may consist of:

A.     Recognition items:

Example:

a.      fixing a car

b.      catching a train

c.      talking to someone

d.      returning a briefcase

B.     Definition

Example:

A person who forges iron and shoes horses

a. maison

b. blacksmith

c. caretaker

d. janitor

C.    Synonym

Example:

Flee

a.      escape

b.      advocate

c.empower

d.      consult

D.    Vocabulary in context

Example:

It is raining cats and dogs.

a.      hardly

b.      heavily

c.      nearly

d.      immediately

E.     Sets (associated words)

Example:

Education             (a)       degree            principal         traffic

(b)       cohot               factory electives

(c)        term                casts               inauguration

III. Tests of Pronunciation

A.     Recognition items

Example:

Circle the words that have /sh/ sound

1.      garage

2.      pleasure

3.      ship

4.      cash

5.      assess

B.     Discrimination items

Example:

Write ‘S’ if the pair have the same sound and write ‘D’ if the pair have the different sound.

1.      sink – zinc

2.      look – Luke

3.      life – live

4.      deer – dear

5.      love – laugh

C.    Sound-pronunciation items

Example:

Pronounce the following English sounds clearly.

1.      [f]

2.      [ou]

3.      [v]

4.      [a:]

5.      [r]

D.    Word-pronunciation items

Example:

Pronounce the following words clearly.

1.      leisure

2.      myth

3.      thorough

4.      hitchiker

5.      admirable

E.     Minimum-pair-pronunciation

Example:

Pronounce the following pairs of words clearly.

1.      then – than

2.      sheep – ship

3.      kick – cake

4.      sew – saw

5.      three – tree

F.     Sentence-pronunciation

Pronounce the following sentences clearly.

1.      She shall sell sea shells on the sea shore.

2.      Peter Piper picked a pack of pickled pepper.

3.      How many cans can a canner can if a canner can cans.

4.      I thought a thought but the thought I thought wasn’t the thought I thought Ithought.

G.    Reading aloud

Read the following passage loudly.

She wanted her children to feel loved and lovable, creative and imaginative, imbued with a sense that there was magic in the world and beauty and even in the face of adversity. In truth, my mother wanted her children to see themselves much like the gardenia- lovely, strong, and perfect- with an aura of magic and perhaps a bit of mystery.

QUESTIONS AND ASSIGNMENTS

  1. QUESTIONS

    1. Mentions kinds of grammar tests.
    1. Give some examples of each of the grammar tests.
    1. Mentions kinds of vocabulary tests.
    1. Give some examples of each of the vocabulary tests.
    1. Mentions kinds of pronunciation tests.
    1. Give some examples  of the pronunciation tests.
  1. ASSIGNMENTS

Read the following passage carefully and then construct test items based on the provided descriptions.

JUST KEPT STARING’

‘I WAS FASCINATED,’ GIRL SAYS

OF ECLIPSE- NOW SHE’S BLIND

TIPTON, Ind. (UPI)- Ann Turner, 15, is living proof of the danger of trying to watch a solar eclipse with the naked eye. Now she is blind.

On March 7, despite the warnings she had read, Ann “took a quick look through the window” at her home at the solar eclipse in progress.

“For some reason, I just kept staring out of the window,” she told Pat Cline, a reporter for the Tipton Daily Tribune, “I was fascinated by what was taking place in the sky. There was no pain or feeling of discomfort as I watched. I stood there perhaps four or five minutes when mum caught me and made me turn away from the window.”

Ann said she “saw spots before my eyes but I didn’t think much about it.” Shortly afterwards, she walked into town and suddenly realized when she looked at a traffic signal that she could not read the signs.

Frightened, Ann turned around and headed home. As she neared the porch, she said, she found she was “walking in the darkness.”

She was too scared to tell her family until the next day, although she “had an intuition or suspicion that something terrible was happening.”

“I cried and cried,” she said. “I didn’t want to be blind. God knows I didn’t want to live in the darkness the rest of my life.

“I kept hoping the nightmare would end and I could see again but the darkness kept getting worse. I was scared I had disobeyed my parents and the other warnings. I could not go back and change things. It was too late.”

When Mr. And Mrs. Coy Turner learned what had happened, they took Ann to specialists, But the doctors shook their heads and said they could not help Ann regain her sight. They said she is 90% blind and can make out only faint lines of large objects on the periphery of what used to be her normal sight field.

With the help of the tutor, Ann is going ahead with her education. She is learning to adjust to the world of darkness.

(taken from ‘Discipline While You Can’ by James Dobson. 1982. Kingsway Publication Ltd.)

  1. Construct a reading comprehension test, objective testing, multiple choice format, finding the main idea of the text.
  2. Construct a vocabulary test, objective testing, matching format,  determining the meaning of certain words in a meaningful context.
  3. Construct a grammar test, objective testing, completion format, determining the function of a certain grammatical structure.
  4. Construct a writing test, subjective testing, essay item to measure synthesis.
  5. Construct a pronunciation test, objective testing, matching format, discriminating sounds.
  6. Construct a listening comprehension test, objective testing, multiple choice format, finding specific information.
  7. Construct a reading comprehension test, objective testing, matching format,  relating the title and the content.
  8. Construct a grammar test, objective testing, completion format, determining the transformation of a certain grammatical structure.
  9. Construct a writing test, subjective testing, essay item to measure synthesis.
  10. Construct a speaking test, subjective testing, essay item to measure synthesis.

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