Tải bản đầy đủ

Testing English vocabulary

MASARYK UNIVERSITY BRNO
FACULTY OF EDUCATION
Department of English Language and Literature

TESTING VOCABULARY
Diploma Thesis
Brno 2009

Author:
Bc. Ivana Pavlů

Supervisor:
Mgr. Naděžda Vojtková


Declaration:
I declare that I have written my diploma thesis myself and used only the sources listed
in the enclosed bibliography.
I agree with this diploma thesis being deposited in the Library of the Faculty of
Education at the Masaryk University and with its being made available for academic
purposes.

...................................
Ivana Pavlů

2


Acknowledgements
I would like to express my thanks to Mgr. Naděžda Vojtková for her guidance, kind help
and her comments on my work.

3


Content
THEORETICAL PART
Introduction...................................................................................................................6
TESTING......................................................................................................................7
1. Basic division of tests...........................................................................................7
2. Reasons for testing...............................................................................................7
3. Principles of tests................................................................................................11
3.1 Reliability....................................................................................................11
3.2 Validity.........................................................................................................12
4. How to write tests...............................................................................................15
5. Types of tests......................................................................................................17
5.1 Multiple choice............................................................................................18
5.2 Cloze test.....................................................................................................19
5.3 Dictation......................................................................................................20
5.4 True/false.....................................................................................................21
5.5 Questions and answers (open questions).....................................................22
5.6 Gap-filling...................................................................................................22
5.7 Transformation............................................................................................22
5.8 Rewriting.....................................................................................................23
5.9 Matching......................................................................................................23
5.10 Error correction.........................................................................................24
5.11 Essay..........................................................................................................24
5.12 Translation.................................................................................................25
5.13 Rearranging...............................................................................................25
5.14 Information transfer...................................................................................25
VOCABULARY.........................................................................................................26
6. Basic aspects of vocabulary...............................................................................26
7. Selection and size of vocabulary........................................................................27
8. Why test vocabulary?.........................................................................................29
9. Vocabulary testing techniques............................................................................30
9.1 Multiple choice............................................................................................31
9.2 Cloze test ....................................................................................................32
9.3 Word formation............................................................................................32
9.4 Matching......................................................................................................32
9.5 Odd one out.................................................................................................33
9.6 Writing sentences.........................................................................................34
9.7 Dictation .....................................................................................................34
9.8 Sentence completion....................................................................................34
9.9 Definitions...................................................................................................34
9.10 Translation.................................................................................................35
9.11 Writing.......................................................................................................35
9.12 Reading......................................................................................................36
9.13 Oral testing................................................................................................36
9.14 Associations...............................................................................................37
9.15 Placing.......................................................................................................37
9.16 Synonyms and antonyms...........................................................................37
4


9.17 Transformation..........................................................................................37
9.18 Substitution................................................................................................38
PRACTICAL PART
Introduction.................................................................................................................39
10. Description of the tested groups.......................................................................41
11. Criteria of measuring the effectiveness............................................................43
12. Informal assessment.........................................................................................43
12.1 Cards - method of translation...................................................................43
12.2 Monolingual dictionary.............................................................................48
12.3 Cards - method of definition......................................................................48
12.4 Self-testing through textbooks...................................................................50
12.5 Testing on the Internet...............................................................................53
13. Formal testing...................................................................................................54
13.1 Definitions.................................................................................................55
13.2 Sentence completion and writing sentences.............................................57
15.3 True/false, matching, odd one out.............................................................59
13.4 Dictation....................................................................................................63
13.5 Multiple choice..........................................................................................65
13.6 Oral testing................................................................................................66
13.7 Cloze test...................................................................................................67
14. Summary of the practical part..........................................................................68
Conclusion..................................................................................................................70
Resume........................................................................................................................71
Bibliography...............................................................................................................73
Appendix.....................................................................................................................75

5


THEORETICAL PART

Introduction
The main subject of my thesis is testing vocabulary. The thesis is divided into
theoretical and practical part. In the theoretical part I will try to summarize various
kinds of tests, then I will focus on those methods of testing which would be suitable for
testing vocabulary. Besides I will also deal with the basic principles of tests such as
validity and reliability and the question of size of vocabulary and if it is important to test
it. In the practical part I will use various methods of testing vocabulary in real classes.
As I teach at a secondary school, I have a great opportunity to use the methods in
practice.
There was a significant reason why I have chosen this topic. I have been
teaching for about eight years and since the beginning of my teaching career I have been
aware of my weakness in teaching and testing vocabulary. It was partly caused by the
fact that in my teaching practice I was influenced by my own English teacher at my
grammar school. She was a great teacher but concerning teaching vocabulary, she did
not pay much attention to it and she paid even less attention to testing vocabulary. The
only way she tested us was translation of a list of Czech words into English. We always
learned an amount of words and wrote the test but we did not know many of the words
after several days. Consequently, I was always better at grammar than at vocabulary
because the teacher devoted much more time to it in her lessons. I proceeded exactly in
the same way in my teaching practice but I was never satisfied with it and this thesis is a
good chance how to change it.
In the thesis I want to explore some other ways of testing and my secret wish is
to do the testing more interesting or even amusing. I want to stop the routine of CzechEnglish translations and started to be more creative. Moreover, the other goal is to use
the vocabulary more in practice or in context and to work with the words more
intensively so that the students would remember them better.
Many of the techniques described in the theoretical part will be used in my
lessons in more or less modified versions. My goal is to find those methods which
6


would be easy to prepare and to correct but also inventive and raising students´ interests
in learning vocabulary.
In the thesis I will sometimes use the word teacher which is replaced by the
pronoun she as there are more women than men teachers.

TESTING
1. Basic division of tests
Standardised and non-standardised tests
• Standardised tests are those tests which were prepared by a team of professionals
which means that they are highly reliable.
• Non-standardised tests are those prepared by an individual teacher according to
what she wants to cover in class. This means that the tests are not as reliable as
standardised tests but still they play an important role in lessons (Berka, Váňová
10).

2. Reasons for testing
There are many reasons for testing which authors of different methodological
books present and they divide them according to various criteria.
The most common reason is that tests show a kind of ability. We need tests to
find out the level of some knowledge of something. According to Hughes “it is difficult
to imagine British and American universities accepting students from overseas without
some knowledge of their proficiency in English. The same is true for organisations
hiring interpreters or translators. They certainly need dependable measures of language
ability ” (4).
We cannot avoid testing almost anywhere, Mcnamara says that “language tests
play a powerful role in many people´s lives, acting as gateways at important transitional
moments in education, in employment, and in moving from one country to another” (4).
For teachers the reason for testing is clear as they need to find out about their
students´ progress (Hughes 4). Although tests are not very popular among students they
7


need to be taken regularly because teachers must learn if their students understand a
language matter or not and in that case, it should be a signal for some revision of those
pieces of language which were not understood well . Moreover, at most Czech schools
tests have to be done so that students could be marked according to them. To be more
specific, students have to be examined several times a semester. The way of
examination depends on every school management or even on the teacher of a particular
subject. However, the usual way of assessment is done through written tests or oral
examinations which are the main criteria for the final marks.
Heaton divides teacher´s reasons for testing into several categories:
• Finding out about progress
• Encouraging students
• Finding out about learning difficulties
• Finding out about achievement
• Placing students
• Selecting students

• Finding out about proficiency (9-17).
In the following part the categories of reasons will be described in more detail.
Finding out about progress
This is done through so called progress tests which “look back at what students
have achieved ... and are the most important kinds of tests for teachers” (Heaton 9). The
author also claims that in progress tests student´s results should be very good, most of
them should have about 80% or even 90% of correct answers, otherwise the subject of
the test was not mastered and the teachers should find the mistake which may be in the
content of the test or in the bad method of teaching . The author adds that “the best
progress test is one which students do not recognise as a test but see as simply an
enjoyable and meaningful activity” (Heaton 9).
Encouraging students
Tests can also be useful in terms of showing students how they improve.

8


Consequently, students, encouraged by their improvements, have new motivation for
future studying. The author highlights that people are always motivated by good results
in everything they do not just exams while bad results mostly discourage them (Heaton
10). This claim is very true and valid also for learning English, therefore students with
excellent test results like learning English while the weaker students do not. Moreover,
test can enable students to experience success. According to BBC:
...in the 1970´s students in an intensive EFL program were taught in an unstructured
conversation course. They complained that though they had a lot of time to practise
communicating, they felt as if they had not learned anything. Not long afterwords a
testing system was introduced and helped to give them a sense of satisfaction that they
were accomplishing things (Frost, Testing and Assessment).

Finding out about learning difficulties
Teachers can learn about students´ problems with the language through tests.
Such tests are called diagnostic tests and are used mainly for finding out student´s
difficulties. The test must be well-prepared so that it could really find out what students
do not know. The best time for such a test is at the beginning of a course or a school
year (Heaton 11-12).
Finding out about achievement
For this we use so called achievement tests which are tests covering a large
amount of curriculum, for example, they may test whole year or even several years of
study. For teachers at elementary or secondary schools these kinds of tests are very
difficult to prepare, because of the big amount of curriculum covered through whole
year or several years and teachers do not know what to put into the test and what not to
as everything seems important to them. Heaton advises to work with other colleagues on
that to be more objective (Heaton 13-14).
Placing students
So called placement tests are used to divide students into groups according to
their level of knowledge. The tests must not focus only on one part of English such as
present simple but on the knowledge in broad term because we want to have an
objective picture of student´s present level of English . These tests should include

9


various types such as blank-filling , dictation or multiple choice (Heaton 15).
Selecting students
Tests for selecting students - we can come across such tests when we look for a
job. The main aim of these tests is to find the best candidate for a position which means
that we do not measure their performance according to some criteria but we compare the
candidates with one another and try to choose best one. Heaton talks about normreferenced testing. “That is, we compare the performance of an individual with the other
individuals in the group (i.e. the norm)” (Heaton 16).
In the Czech Republic children sometimes have to to pass an entrance
examination when they want to attend a secondary school. The examination is mostly a
written test containing the main subject of the discipline which the child wants to study.
For example, a child who wants to study a technical school will probably take the
entrance exam from mathematics,however, the requirements may vary from school to
schools.
In connection with these selection tests Heaton talks about so called washback
effect, which is quite a familiar term in methodology expressing how testing influences
learners, what impact it has on learning and teaching. This means that the test can have
either positive or negative effect on our teaching. If the examination is well-prepared
then both students and their teacher will profit from it but if the test is bad, it will have a
negative effect on them (16-17).
Hughes explains that a test can influence people either positively or negatively.
Negative washback happens when all the work in the class starts to comfort to the
demands of the test. For example, the test we are going to write with our students
contains only gap-filling activities, so the teachers practise only similar exercises so that
her students were successful but generally it is harmful because students will be good
only at one area. So to reach a positive washback, the test should provoke improvement
of all students´ skills and preferably arise student´s taste for learning (1).
Finding out about proficiency
Mcnamara says that “whereas achievement tests relate to the past in that they
measure what language that students have learned as a result of teaching, proficiency

10


tests look to the future situation of language use without necessarily any reference to the
previous process of teaching” (Mcnamara 7). To be specific, proficiency tests are
focused on English used in a concrete area, mostly in an occupation. It implies that
these tests must contain tasks which the candidate will use in her/his future job. Heaton
gives an example of a clerk taking such a test. “The test should concentrate on assessing
the ability to write letters, to translate documents and possibly to read and write
technical reports in English rather than an ability to write imaginative essays or hold
conversations in English” (Heaton 17-18).
Besides the reasons for testing described above, Ur suggests another three. The
first one is similar to the achievement test but the amount of curriculum is smaller, for
instance, when the teacher has finished a unit from a textbook then there is time to
verify how well her students mastered a particular piece of language. The second reason
is to make students study harder and the last reason and very true is to use tests to
quieten a noisy class and make them concentrate (Ur 34). This is rather a double sword
as this reason may be easily misused by the teacher and she can flood her students by a
heap of tests just because the students are too noisy and she does not know how to cope
with them. This may produce an impression that tests are only for punishment and may
be perceived only negatively.

3. Principles of tests
“If you think that taking tests is difficult then you should try writing them” )(Frost, Test
Writing).
Every test should fulfil some criteria to be useful and full-value, the basic ones
are validity and reliability. In this chapter I am going to describe these two principles in
more detail.

3.1 Reliability
This means that a test is reliable when the results do not differ at different times
of doing. To be more specific, the result of the test should be more or less the same no
matter if students are taking it on Monday morning or Friday afternoon. Moreover, the
11


reliability is also guaranteed by the fair marking of the examiner. This could be a
problem when writing, for example, an essay. Such tests are very subjective and it is
almost impossible that two or even more people would have exactly the same view on a
particular composition. Heaton adds that

examiners can be also influenced by

comparing essays with one another. For instance, he has just marked an excellent essay
and now he is correcting rather an average one,as a result, he can give it worse mark
than it really deserves (6). This disunity can be seen also at the school where I teach
when students are passing their school-leaving exams. Sometimes teachers cannot agree
on a mark because each of them has its own scale of assessment. While one consider
students´s performance very good, the other one sees it as an average performance. This
problem may be partly solved by the new school-leaving exam because we will have
rubrics with descriptors of what should a student know when he or she wants to achieve
mark one, mark two etc. However, there can be several opinions on that again. Frost
points out that in an oral interview the examiner must not give preferential treatment to
any student, he should treat all the same, he must stay objective (Frost, Test Writing).
Hughes suggests another causes of unreliability such as unclear instructions,
ambiguous questions, items that enable the candidate to guess easily (4). These mistakes
do not happen to the international organisations or universities which have long-time
tradition of giving examinations all over the world, because they have enough
specialists to make the exams reliable. However, when a teacher at a school decides to
write a complete test herself, she can create unclear instructions etc. although she wants
to do her best. To avoid this I suggest to create several versions of the test and try one
in the class unofficially or discuss it with colleagues.

3.2 Validity
“A test should measure whatever it is supposed to measure and nothing else”
(Heaton 7).
Every test should really test the things which are expected to be tested, for instance, a
test on listening about English literature should test only students´ listening skills based
on what they hear and not to test their real knowledge of English literature (Frost, Test
Writing).
Validity is quite a complicated principle of the test, there are several aspects how
12


to measure it.
Content validity
Hughes explains that this guarantees that the test will be relevant for a particular
group of people containing particular structures:
Just what are the relevant structures will depend, of course upon the purpose of the test.
We would not expect an achievement test for intermediate learners to contain just the
same set of structures as one for advanced learners. In order to judge whether or not a
test has content validity, we need a specification of the skills or structures etc. that it is
meant to cover. Such a specification should be made at a very early stage in test
construction. ... A comparison of test specification and test content is the basis for
judgements as to content validity (Hughes 22).

All the things we set in the specification should be incorporated into the test. In
the specification teachers must put the things which are important to test. Hughes points
out that teachers sometimes try to avoid testing things which are hard to test in order to
simplify their job but writing the specification should prevent it (Hughes 22-23).
Criterion-related validity
We compare our test with another test which must be independent. There are two
kinds of such a criterion-related validity. The first type is concurrent validity. Hughes
set an example of a test where one part is an oral interview lasting for ten minutes. In
the interview the examiner should examine all the important things which learners have
studied. However, we are not sure if it is possible to cover all curriculum in ten minutes
and there is a tendency to think that the exam should last about 45 minutes to be
objective and to assess the learners´ knowledge fairly. To find it out, we choose some
students and try to examine them in both ways - forty-five minutes and ten minutes
exams and then compare our results. If both student´s performances have similar result,
then our ten-minute exam is valid, if the results are very different, then the shorter exam
is not valid or objective (Hughes 23).
A person who is not a teacher can think that the results must be different,
because one cannot judge someone´s ability in ten minutes but I suppose that the results
will be roughly the same. If the examiners or teachers have enough experience they will
detect the student´s abilities quite easily. In common lessons the teacher needs only a

13


few moments to find out, for example, whether her students has prepared for the lesson
or not at all.
The second type of criterion-related validity is called predictive validity which
predicts how a students will perform in future (Hughes 25). A typical example would be
some entrance tests to universities. Their task is to “discover” students who have a
potential to manage a particular kind of a study programme.
Construct and face validity
The second sub-class is construct validity which means that the test examines
only the ability which it should examine such as reading ability (Hughes 26). The last
sub-type of validity is so called face validity. “A test is said to have face validity if it
looks as if it measures what it is supposed to measure” (Hughes 27). For instance, when
a teacher creates a test which is supposed to test past simple tense but half of the
questions test present simple tense, then the test is not face valid. Here comes a threat
that such a test would not be accepted by the learners, so face validity also means that
learners accept the test.
3.3 Practicality, variability, interest
Thornbury considers practicality another principle which is important for a good
test. He suggests that every test should be easy to mark and evaluate for the teacher
(142). In my view, correcting and assessing a test should be as simple as possible, in
addition, there should not be much space for several variants of a task because it takes
so much time when a teacher has to think about every item individually.
Frost suggests two useful things that a good test should have. Firstly, the test
must be variable. The more types of exercises it has the longer and better the students
will concentrate on it because this prevents from decreasing their attention. Secondly,
the teacher should also bear in mind that an interesting test is always better than a
boring one, so students definitely appreciate if the test has some interesting articles or
sentences. It can also be a bit funny, if the teacher does not lack the sense of humour
(Frost, Test Writing).

14


4. How to write tests
Should we create our own test?
I depends mainly on the teacher which alternative she prefers. In shops you can
buy many books with tests but according to my experience, you often cannot use them
straight away, you have to adapt them somehow for your students. They can, for
example, contain vocabulary that your students do not know and students would
definitely protest. However, these tests are a big source of inspiration and therefore very
useful to have in your school.
The other possibility is to use tests which are added to nearly every textbook. I
teach my student according to Headway textbooks and after every unit I give them a test
from the textbook tests all the important thins from the covered unit. However, these
tests have to be sometimes slightly modified or even erased as some types of exercises
would cause big problems to my students. But on the whole, these tests help me to be
objective and they ease my job a lot.
The next alternative is to create your own test, Heaton claims that “...the best
tests for the classroom are those tests which you write yourself ” (Heaton 23). In my
view, creating our own tests where every sentence and word would be our original job
are not realistic because it would take so much time. But if we do not take it literally,
then it is true. The teacher can combine several sources and create a prefect test or she
can use just some parts and create the rest herself. Writing our own test enables the
teacher, for example, to focus on those things with which her students had problems and
check if they have understood it.
Techniques to create a test
Ur suggests to focus on these things when creating a test:
Validity. Check that your items really do test what they are meant to.
Clarity. Make sure that instructions for each item are clear.
Do-ability. The test should be quote do-able: not too difficult, with no trick questions.
Marking. Decide exactly how you will assess each section of the test and how
weighting (percentage of the total grade) you will give it.
Interest. Try to go for interesting content and tasks, in order to make the test more
motivating for the learners.
Heterogeneity. The test should be such that lower-level students can feel that they are

15


able to do a substantial part of the test, while the higher-level ones have a chance to
show what they know (Ur 42).

These are rather theoretical things which the teacher should think about when
creating a test. They all seem logical, but in my view, it is not so easy to find out before
you try the test in a real class. No matter how much we try to make our test perfect, we
sometimes do not avoid some imperfections. For example, although the teacher can
think that her instructions are very clear, students may not understand them very well.
Or we may think that the test we have created is very easy, however, most of our
students fail it. These things and many others are improving by getting experience in
teaching.
Heaton presents different attitude to test writing. He points out that it is very
difficult to to write a language test because there are not facts like in history or
geography. He suggests a practical thing - to prepare a test framework, a kind of a
syllabus, where teachers note all the important key elements, moreover,

it helps

teachers to prevent omitting something important. Heaton explains in several steps how
to write a test. According to his strategy I have tried to prepare a test framework
covering one unit from Headway Elementary:
Grammar:

there is/are
prepositions of places
some/any + countable nouns

Vocabulary:

things in the house
places, food and drink

The other step is to give percentages to each item. I decided to devote 60% to
grammar and 40% to vocabulary, then I divided them this way.
Grammar:

Vocabulary:

there is/are

25%

prepositions of places

20%

some/any + countable nouns

15%

things in the house

20%

places, food and drink

20%
16


Then he recommends to put numbers of items to each point like there is/are - 5
items etc. Last step is to specify the functions we want to examine, for example, giving
directions (here I use there is/are and prepositions of places) or describing rooms in the
house (concerning things in the house) etc. (Heaton 25-28, Soars 3-4).
Here is another way of writing a test.
1) Choose the type of the test you want to make such as progress test or placement test.
2) Write down what you want to put into the test, for example present simple tense etc.
3) Decide about the length, format.
4) Prepare some suitable exercises or texts.
5) Give appropriate weight to the individual parts of the test.
6) Create the test.
7) Focus on the instructions and sample answers.
8) Think about the marking scale.
9) Write a key to the exercises.
10) Write a more detailed key for those tasks where more options are possible.
11) Write the test with your students.
12) Interpret the test results and decide what was good and bad about the test (Frost, test
writing).

5. Types of tests
Frost distinguishes between types of tests and types of tasks. He presents four
types of tests which are a proficiency test, an achievement test, a diagnostic test and
prognostic test. The first two types have already been discussed in the chapter Reasons
for testing.
Diagnostic tests analyse what the learners are good at and bad at. In compliance with
this information, the teacher adapts her teaching strategy (Hughes 13).
Prognostic tests discover how a learner will be successful in a course or if he or she is
able to attend such a course.(Frost, Test Question Types).

17


There is a review of types of tasks which will be specified later on:
• multiple choice
• cloze test
• dictation
• true/false
• questions and answers
• gap-filling
• transformation
• rewriting
• matching
• error correction
• essay
• translation
• rearranging words
• Information transfer

I am going to describe these techniques in more detail and try to analyse their positive
and negative aspects.
5.1 Multiple choice
This is a question which consists of a so called stem and four options from which
only one is correct. The examinee has to choose the right answer (Ur 38). The form of
the multiple choice can also vary, here are three possible forms:
He accused me of ...... lies.
a. speaking
b. saying
c. telling
d. talking
Everything we wanted was to hand.
a. under control
b. within reach
c. well cared for
d. being prepared
According to the writer, what did Tom immediately do?
a. He ran home.

18


b. He met Bob.
c. He began to shout.
d. He phoned the police (“Multiplechoice”).

The biggest advantage of this kind of testing is that we do not have to worry
about subjectivity because only one answer should be correct. Secondly, it is very easy
and quick for the examiner to correct this test because he or she just puts ticks or
crosses. On the other hand, Hughes proves that it does not show the real level of
someone´s abilities because the examiner or the teacher cannot discover the knowledge
of grammar, for instance, because we do not know if the examinee can use it in writing
or speaking. He explains that in multiple choice the chance for guess the right answer is
about 33 percent which means that from 100 questions someone is able to guess about
33. The result is that the teacher cannot be really sure if the student has mastered the
curriculum (Hughes 60).
The other difficulty with multiple choice is that we have to find three distractors
which are items that would distract or confuse the examinee. Therefore, it is hard to
create a good multiple choice test. This causes problems with more correct answers or
even no correct answer. This all means that it is very difficult and time-demanding to
write such a test (Hughes 61).
Next disadvantage is that these tests also enable cheating because if a potential
cheater looks at someone´s paper which is near, he or she can easily recognize what the
person has answered as there can be seen circles A, B, C, or D (Hughes 62). In my view,
it can be prevented by giving several versions of tests and I always do it because with
one version the test would not be valid.
5.2 Cloze test
Cloze test is test based on a text with gaps which are put there regularly after
every seventh, eighth or ninth word. The examinee has to complete the gaps with
appropriate words. Mostly more than one option is possible. The first three or more
lines of the text are without gaps (Scrivener 261).
Example of a cloze test:
Seventy years ago no one ______ ever heard the word ‘robot’. It ______ first used by a
Czechoslovakian writer, Karel Capek ______ the 1920´s. He wrote a play about a
scientist ______ invents machines which he ______ robots, from the Czech word

19


robota, meaning ‘slave-like

work’… (O´Connell 193).

The advantage of cloze tests is that it is quite easy to create them. The teacher
just needs to find a suitable text and delete words from it. Nevertheless, Hughes does
not consider cloze tests much reliable because we do not know what ability (speaking,
writing, reading etc.) of the examinee it shows. Moreover, the regular interval of every
ninth word does not work very well because some deleted words a are very difficult to
determine (Hughes 62-67).
This is a kind of cloze test but with initial letters of words that are omitted.
Example of a C-Test:
There are usually five men in the crew of a fire engine. One o_____them dri_____ the
eng_____. The lea_____ sits bes_____ the dri_____. The ot_____ firemen s_____
inside t_____ cab o_____ the f_____ engine.T_____ leader h_____ usually be_____ in
t_____ Fire Ser_____ for ma_____ years... (Hughes 71).

This test is more advantageous for the examinee as the texts are shorter and less
difficult. On the other hand, the gaps are so close to one another that the learner can get
lost in the text (Hughes 71).
5.3 Dictation
The examiner dictates a text and students write it down. Here we examine
mainly spelling or pronunciation and also listening. Dictation is an easy way of testing
for the teacher because the preparation is minimal (Ur 40). However, it is demanding to
assess such tests, Hughes recommends that we should consider the dictation correct as
long as there is the right order of words and that misspelled words should be accepted
because phonologically it is correct (Hughes 71-72).
Another disadvantage is the difficulty of assessment. Generally, teachers
themselves determine which errors are considered serious and which are just mild ones.
It is advisable to set the scale of assessment before we start to correct. There is also the
question of objectivity because every teacher will look the dictations from her own
perspective. To prevent this we can use an alternative to dictation which is called
paused dictation which is a text with missing words, students fill in the missing words
20


while the teacher dictates (Berka, Váňová 36-37).
Example:
The police are __________ for a three-day-old baby-girl _________ yesterday from
the __________ ward of a London hospital. The baby was removed form her
__________ early yesterday morning. Police are anxious to find a __________ seen
__________ round the hospital __________ that night ... (Berka, Váňová 39).

5.4 True/false
According to a text or listening the teacher prepares a set of statements and
students have to circle true or false. This type of testing is typically used for testing
reading or listening abilities, however, it can have much wider usage. We can test also
synonyms, antonyms, grammatical forms etc. Berka, Váňová offer several variations of
true/false method. In the following example, the student has to find all true answers not
just one, the number of correct answers is not given:
Anglická synonyma českého slovesa „dostat“ jsou:
to give
S
N
to receive
S
N
to get
S
N
to become
S
N (Berka, Váňová 19).

Another variation is so called correction form where students has to first decide
if the sentence given is correct or not. If not, he or she has to correct it:
Určete, obsahuje-li věta “I was ill since last Sunday” mluvnickou
chybu. Pokud je věta správná, označte ji písmenem S, pokud není
vyznačte písmeno N a napiště správný tvar na k tomu určený řádek.
Řešení:

S

N

....... have been ....... (Berka, Váňová 19).

In the following example the sentence contains mistakes, testee has to decide
which word is not correct:
A friend of me used saying: “Better late then never” .
A B C D
E F
G H I
Řešení: C:mine, E: to say, H: than (Berka, Váňová 19).

True/false technique is quite easy and economical to do as well as to correct (Ur
21


38-39). On the other hand if the exercise is based on simple true/false principle, there is
a danger that the student will guess the right answer as the percentage of successfulness
is 50%. Berka, Váňová suggest to give three possible answers to prevent this: true, false
and not mentioned in the given text (20).
5.5 Questions and answers (open questions)
This type of exercise can be based on a text or a listening but it does not have to
be based on anything as well. Ur advises not to enable too many options of the answers
so as not to make it difficult to correct (Ur 38-39).
Example of questions and answers:
Answer the following questions.
What was the relationship between Jane Eyre and Mrs. Reed?
What was Mr. Rochester like?
5.6 Gap-filling
This method is often mixed up with cloze test but it is a completely different
type. This type can be used for various purposes, it can test, for example, irregular verbs
or prepositions (Scrivener 183). The teacher creates some sentences with gaps and the
testee has to complete them but we have to avoid more that one possible answers (Ur
38).
Example of gap-filling with there is/there are:
______ a little dog in the park; ______ also a big cat. In this house ______ eight little
rooms and a big kitchen. ______ two lamps on the wall but ______ only one lamp on
that wall (Rosset 8).

5.7 Transformation
In this type students are given sentences which they have to put into another
form, for example, to put sentences in past simple tense into past perfect tense (Ur 38).
They are not difficult either to create or to correct.
Example of transformation:

22


Put the following sentences into past simple tense:
She likes her job.
Jane wears jeans.
They clean the windows.

5.8 Rewriting
This is similar to transformation but here students have to transform a sentence
in the way that it means the same as the first one (Frost). In my view, these sentences
are quite troublesome to form, therefore I would use these borrow these exercises from
real specialists.
Example of rewriting:
The last time I played tennis was ten years ago.
I…
Would you like me to give you a lift?
I´ll … (O´Connell 194).

5.9 Matching
There are two groups of words mostly in two columns, the student has to make
pairs from these words which make sense somehow. They are especially good for
practising vocabulary such as adjectives of opposite meaning. Berka and Váňová add
that matching is especially good for testing definitions, events and relations (28). Ur
claims that the items are demanding to create, but often they emerge from the context
(Ur 38-40).
This is an example of matching exercise focused on idioms:
G
I
C
H
E
D
A

Všude dobře, doma nejlépe.
Sejde z očí, sejde z mysli.
Kdo se směje naposled, ten se směje nejlépe.
Vrána k vráně sedá.
Kuj železo, dokud je žhavé.
Lepší vrabec v hrsti, než holub na střeše.
Dvakrát měř, jednou řež.

A
B
C
D
E

Look before you leap.
As you make your bed, so you must lie in it.
He laughs best who laughs last.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Make hay while the sun shines.

23


F
G
H
I
J

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
East, west, home best.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Out of sight, out of mind.
My house, my castle (Berka, Váňová 28).

5.10 Error correction
Students are given sentences with errors which concern mainly grammar (verb
forms, missing verbs or letters etc.). Their task is to find the mistakes and correct them.
The only problem with this method is that sometimes there can be more than one way of
correction (Frost, Test Question Types).
Example of error correction:
Where was you yesterday?
My aunt don´t drive a car.
5.11 Essay
The examinee has to write a text on a given topic and mostly in a particular
length and form. It tests writing abilities and it is not difficult to prepare, however, it is
very demanding and time-consuming to correct such essays because the examiner has to
watch many aspects of the language such as spelling, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation
etc. (Ur 41). Moreover, there is a danger of subjectivity in correction which I can
confirm from my personal experience; last year at all secondary schools students of the
fourth grade were to take a sample test from writing which is one of the new schoolleaving exam. Every essay had to be corrected by two teachers and their final results
had to be the same, in other words, they had to agree on the result and on the mark.
Berka, Váňová mention similar event: “... at a conference of language schools in Brno
32 experienced examiners marked one particular essay with marks ranging from 1 to 4...
”(51).
There are three main techniques how to assess essays. The first one is called
mechanic method and it arises from mechanical counting of mistakes and setting a
mark. The second method is called analytical method in which examiners evaluate
wider range of things such as the form and style, vocabulary, grammar, ability to
transmit information. The last method is called impressive method, here every essay is
read and assessed by two or three examiners. The final result is then made from the

24


average of all three (Berka, Váňová 51-53). This could be the solution for assessment of
the written part of the new school-leaving exam; to make the average of the two marks.
Essays have various forms but the most used forms are formal and informal
essays. Students are said to write a formal letter such as an application for a job. In
informal writing they write about more personal things such as holiday, friends, hobbies
etc.
Except subjectivity there are other two aspects which are typical for essays. At
first, there is not a prototype of an essay, every essay is original. Secondly, the examinee
can freely express his or her feelings, share opinions and ideas. The main priority of an
essay is that the student can show his or her ability to write and ability to tell particular
pieces of information.
5.12 Translation
This is a damned as well as praised method. Students receive sentences or a text
in their mother tongue and their task is to translate them into English. Although, the
method is easy for the teacher, students hate it because it is very difficult for them. It
also prevents students thinking directly in English and they tend to translate things in
their minds which is not good.
Ur claims that it is a quick way how to find out about students´s knowledge but
marking may be quite difficult as there may be tens of variations (40).
5.13 Rearranging
Students have to rearrange given words so that the sentence makes sense and is
grammatically correct (Scrivener 183).
Example: me/tall/as/she/as/is
5.14 Information transfer
This is based on a reading of a text. Doff explains that students do not answer
any questions, but they write some information about the text and this way they show if
they have understood it.

25


Tài liệu bạn tìm kiếm đã sẵn sàng tải về

Tải bản đầy đủ ngay

×

×