Chapters from Hughes’ Testing for Language Teachers
8. Common Test techniques: Elaine, 24th
9. Testing Writing: Marta, Ido...
 8. Common Test Techniques
• Features:
 Reliable
 Valid
 Reliably scored
 Economical
 Beneficial Washback effect
• M...
1. Set representative tasks
1. Specify all possible content
2. Include a representative sample of the specified content
2....
• “The most highly prized language skill”, Lado’s Language
Testing (1961).
• Challenges:
 Ephemeral, intangible.
 Simult...
1. Set representative tasks
1. Specify all possible content
2. Include a representative sample of the specified content
2....
Plan and structure the test carefully (2)
1. Quiet room with good acoustics
2. Put candidates at ease (at first, easy ques...
PROBLEMS:
 Indirect assessment:
 We read in very different ways: scanning, skimming, inferring,
intensive, extensive rea...
PROBLEMS
 As in listening: Indirect assessment and different ways of listening
 As in speaking: Transient nature of spee...
GRAMMAR
 Why? Easy to test, Content validity
 Why not? Harmful washback effect
 It depends on the type of test.
 Speci...
Useful in particular tests where washback is not
important (placement tests, for example)
 Cloze test (from closure). Bas...
TIPS
- Make testing and assessment an integral part of teaching
- Feedback: immediate and positive
- Self assessment
- Was...
7.2 assessment and the cefr (2)
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7.2 assessment and the cefr (2)

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Assessment and the CEFR (2)

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7.2 assessment and the cefr (2)

  1. 1. Chapters from Hughes’ Testing for Language Teachers 8. Common Test techniques: Elaine, 24th 9. Testing Writing: Marta, Idoia, 22nd 10. Testing Oral Abilities: Paula, Ángela, 24th 11. Testing Reading: Lucía, 24th 12. Testing Listening: Lorena, 22nd 13. Testing Grammar and Vocabulary: Clara, Cristina, 22nd 14. Testing Overall Ability: Jefferson, 22nd 15. Tests for Young Learners: Tania, Diego, 24th
  2. 2.  8. Common Test Techniques • Features:  Reliable  Valid  Reliably scored  Economical  Beneficial Washback effect • Multiple choice: Advantages/Disadvantages • Yes/No, True/False: like multiple choice • Short Answer: Adv./Disadv. • Gap-Filling
  3. 3. 1. Set representative tasks 1. Specify all possible content 2. Include a representative sample of the specified content 2. Elicit valid samples of writing ability 1. Set as many separate tasks as feasible 2. Test only writing ability and nothing else 3. Restrict candidates 3. Ensure valid and reliable scoring: 1. Set as many tasks as possible 2. Restrict candidates 3. Give no choice of tasks 4. Ensure long enough samples 5. Create appropriate scales for scoring: HOLISTIC/ANALYTIC 6. Calibrate the scale to be used 7. Select and train scorers 8. Follow acceptable scoring procedures 9. Avoid Taboo topics
  4. 4. • “The most highly prized language skill”, Lado’s Language Testing (1961). • Challenges:  Ephemeral, intangible.  Simultaneous assessment. Solutions?  Very stressful! • Features of oral speech: inaccuracy, unfinished sentences, less precision, generic vocabulary, pauses • Contrast US/UK: Certificate of Proficiency in English (1913) already included it, TOEFL only in 2005 iBT • Key notion: not accent, but intelligibility • Very different approaches.  Indirect  Direct (Cambridge, EOIs) or Semi-direct (TOEFL ibt, OTE, Aptis). Conflict with the American tradition.  The future?: Fully automated L2 speaking tests: Versant test, Speechrater. • Not only speaking, also interaction
  5. 5. 1. Set representative tasks 1. Specify all possible content 2. Include a representative sample of the specified content 2. Elicit valid samples of oral ability. 1. Techniques: 1. Interview :Questions, pictures, role play, interpreting (L1 to L2), prepared monologue, reading aloud 2. Interaction: discussion, roleplay 3. Responses to audio- or video-recordings (semi-direct) 2. Plan and structure the test carefully 1. Make the oral test as long as it is feasible 2. Plan the test carefully 3. As many tasks (“fresh starts”) as possible 4. Use a second tester 5. Set only tasks that candidates could do easily in L1
  6. 6. Plan and structure the test carefully (2) 1. Quiet room with good acoustics 2. Put candidates at ease (at first, easy questions, not assessed, problem with note-taking?) 3. Collect enough relevant information 4. Do not talk too much 5. (select interviewers carefully and train them) 1. Ensure valid and reliable scoring: 1. Create appropriate scales for scoring: HOLISTIC/ANALYTIC. Calibrate the scale to be used 2. Select and train scorers (different from interviewers if possible) 3. Follow acceptable scoring procedures
  7. 7. PROBLEMS:  Indirect assessment:  We read in very different ways: scanning, skimming, inferring, intensive, extensive reading… SOME TIPS  As many texts and operations as possible (Dialang).  Avoid texts which deal with general knowledge  Avoid disturbing topics, or texts students might have read  Use authentic texts  Techniques: better short answer and gap filling than multiple choice  Task difficulty can be lower than text difficulty  Items should follow the order of the text  Make items independent of each other  Do not take into account errors of grammar or spelling  Instructions: Easy to understand, even in L1  If higher stakes, trialling/piloting is essential  Provide an example of the task.
  8. 8. PROBLEMS  As in listening: Indirect assessment and different ways of listening  As in speaking: Transient nature of speech, Redundancy is typical  Anxiety!!! (everything in real time, no re-reading, can’t stop, or slow down) http://www.usingenglish.com/articles/why-your-students-have-problems-with-listening-comprehension.html TIPS:  Same as in reading  If recording is used, make it as natural as possible  Items should be far apart in the text  Give students time to become familiar with the tasks  Techniques: apart from multiple choice, shot answers and gap filling, information transfer, note taking, partial dictation, transcription  Moderation is essential  Write ítems after listening, not looking at the script  No general knowledge, no “common-sense” questions  Follow the order of the speech  Independent items  How many times?
  9. 9. GRAMMAR  Why? Easy to test, Content validity  Why not? Harmful washback effect  It depends on the type of test.  Specifications: Core Inventory/English Profile  Techniques: Gap filling, rephrasings, completion  Don’t penalize for mistakes that were not tested (-s if the item is testing relatives, for example) VOCABULARY  Why (not)?  Specifications: use frequency considerations (English Profile)  Techniques:  Recognition: Recognise synonims, recognise definitions, recognise appropriate word for context  Production: pictures, definitions, gap filling,
  10. 10. Useful in particular tests where washback is not important (placement tests, for example)  Cloze test (from closure). Based on the idea of “reduced redundancy”. Subtypes:  Selected deletion cloze  Conversational cloze  C-Tests: second half of every second word deleted. Example: “The passen___ sits bes___ the dri___”  Dictation: Long tradition. Easy to create and administer, but difficult to score properly. Main problema of all these techniques : horrible washback effect.
  11. 11. TIPS - Make testing and assessment an integral part of teaching - Feedback: immediate and positive - Self assessment - Washback more important than ever - Short tasks (short attention span) - Use stories and games - Use pictures and color - Don’t forget that children are still developing L1 and cognitive abilities - Include interaction - Use colour and drawing - Use cartoon stories - Long warm-ups in speaking - Use cards and pictures

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