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Three advantages of objective items

1. Survey a wide variety of material, in very little time -SAMPLING --students can write 60 multiple choice in an hour but only 1 essay -means they are generally more reliable 2. Can use statistical analysis on individual questions or groups of questions to identify: -strengths and weakness of test (before you hand it back) -specific strengths and weakness of individual students -topics that need to be retaught; areas where course needs work

3. Fast to mark: -so you can do large groups, especially when the teacher's time is limited -cheap to mark--> machine score

Retrieved from http://www.uleth.ca/edu/runte/tests/object/object.html

Three advantages of subjective items

1. No guessing
have to generate answers rather than select them students can demonstrate their knowledge within broad limits

2. Assessment of higher level thinking skills 3. Allow subjectivity in responses 4. Allow freedom in style and depth

Direct testing:
Requires Ss to perform the skill to be measured to perform the communicative skill which is being tested Replicate real-life interaction: in real life, lg use is motivated i.e. when we speak or write we do so for a purpose.

More modern test writers now include tasks which attempt to replicate features of real life (discussions, simulations, role-plays, etc.).
Reading & listening tests should also reflect real life, as much as possible (texts should be authentic or realistic, and so should be reading / listening tasks).

Examples of direct testing

Indirect testing:
- try to measure a student's knowledge and ability by getting at what lies beneath their receptive and productive skills. -indirect items try to find out about a student's language knowledge through more controlled items, such as multiple choice questions or grammar transformation items

Discrete point vs. integrative tests

Discrete point tests:
-Focus on one linguistic element at a time -Assumption: language can be broken down into separate element -tend to be indirect -associated with multiple choice and true/false formats

Integrative tests:
-Requires to students to combine many linguistic elements -Unitary trait/competence hypothesis (Oller) (pg 14 ) -tend to be direct -Ex. Composition, dictation, cloze tests, note-taking

Cloze test is a reading passage (150-200) in which roughly every sixth-seventh word has been deleted; test taker is required to supply words that fit into those blanks. Cloze test results are good measure of overall proficiency.
Dictation: Learners listen to a passage of 100 to 150 words read a lot by admin, and write what they hear, using correct spelling.

Communicative Test
Bachman and Palmer (1996) included among fundamental principles of language testing the need of a correspondence between language test performance and language use. In order for a particular language test to be useful for its intended purpose, test performance must correspond in demonstrable ways to language use in non-test situations.

Eg. Role plays

Cloze test
In its purest form, a cloze consists of the deletion of every nth word in a text (somewhere bt every fifthor tenth word). the randomness of the deleted words, anything may be tested within a singles cloze text: grammar, collocation, fixed phrases, reading comprehension

Example of cloze fragment: They sat on a bench attached 1 _____ a picnic table. Below them they 2 _____ see the river gurgling between overgrown 3 _____. The sky was diamond blue, with 4 _____ white clouds dancing in the freshening 5 _____. They could hear the call of 6 _____ and the buzzing of countless insects. 7 _____ were completely alone.

Dictation test
Davis and Rinvolucri write that "Decoding the sounds of [English] and recoding them in writing is a major learning task" (1988) Frodesen writes that dictation can be "an effective way to address grammatical errors in writing that may be the result of wrong aural perception of English....

Montalvan writes that "as students develop their aural comprehension of meaning and also of the relationship among segments of language, they are learning grammar." (1990)

Purpose of giving dictation is to enable learners to listen and write. It tests mainly the spelling skill. (Saraswathi,2004)

Eg of test --> Pupils hear a conversation between Ali and a doctor twice. Then they are to answer questions based on the conversation heard.

Computer based examination

Each test takers receives a set of questions that meet the test specifications and are appropriate for his or her performance level. Self directed testing on various aspects of a language (vocabulary, grammar, discourse, one or all the four skills)

Steps to carry out a Dictation Test:

Test-takers hear a passage, recited three times.

First at normal speed;

then with long pauses between phrases or natural word groups, during which time test-takers write down what they have just heard

Finally at normal speed once more so they can check their work and proofread.

What makes a dictation difficult?

Length of word groups Length of the pauses

Speed at which the text is read

Complexity of the discourse, grammar and vocabulary used in the text

Two general methods for scoring a dictation:

There is a number of ways to score dictation. One method is to allow one point for every word in the text. It can be done in two ways. If there are few correct sentences in the students' dictations, it is easier and most reliable to count only the correct words that appear in the appropriate sequence. However, if there are few errors and many correct words, it is probably best to count errors and subtract their number from the total number of points. The method described above may cause some problems as it requires a lot of time and care.

To overcome these problems some researchers constructed a 'graduated' dictation method. In this method, dictation is divided into fourteen sequences, each varying in length from two to twenty-one words. Each sequence is worth one point. In order to gain points sequences must be totally correct. Adopting this scoring procedure makes marking greatly accelerated. It is also possible to leave scoring to the students themselves. They can work in groups comparing their versions with each other and then trying to construct one edited and corrected version. Then they compare their version with the original one and focus on punctuation, grammar, spelling and other language points. The advantage of such approach is that the students may discover certain language rules for themselves.

Variants of dictation.
One of the advantages of traditional dictation is that it can be adopted to teach all language skills. This is equally true about variations in dictation techniques. A few examples of activities which aim to practice different language skills follow. 1. The Contradiction Dictation - the teacher dictates a passage, but the students transcribe only the statements with which they agree. They are required to edit and change sentences or phrases with which they disagree. This exercise aims to practise guided composition and editing. 2. Dictocomp - this is a valuable technique to practise writing. The teacher selects a short text and reads it several times until the students have thoroughly understood the passage. They are not allowed to write while listening. Then the students write a composition trying to reconstruct the passage that has been read.

3. Song Dictation - the activity aims to practise listening comprehension. Songs are a useful source for dictation as they help to maintain the natural rhythm and stress of speech which can easily be lost by dictating at a slow pace. Moreover, as students are generally not enthusiastic about dictation, songs are a way of disguising it behind something that they enjoy listening to. Song dictation may also be a good start for all other activities which use songs, such as discussion or vocabulary work. It is recommended that the teacher sing the song herself as in this way she can easily adjust the speed of the song and stop, start and repeat to suit the speed of the students' writing. Another way is to use a recording on CD, video or cassette or to combine it with spoken dictation with the teacher dictating the parts of the song which are too difficult for the students. 4. Bilingual Dictation - this activity combines dictation with translation. It is useful when students are reading a difficult passage. First, students read the text and answer some comprehension questions. Then the pairs of students are given parts of the text to translate as their homework. In the next lesson, one student from each pair reads the English text which is then translated by the other student. The other students are required to transcribe the translation. The procedure follows until the whole text is translated.