Chapter 05: Testing vocabulary

Selection of items

Multiple choice items

Guidelines for constructing multiple choice items

Sets (associated words)

Matching items

More objective items

Completion items



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Chapter 5: Testing vocabularyHeaton, J.B. (1988). Writing English Language Tests. LongmanTesting vocabularySelection of itemsMultiple choice items Guidelines for constructing multiple choice items Sets (associated words)Matching itemsMore objective itemsCompletion itemsI. Selection of itemsTasks of a test constructor: (1) to determine the degree to which concentrating on passive or active vocabulary (2) to decide whether the items should be taken from spoken or written languageLexical items selected from: (i) the syllabus, (ii) Sts’ textbook, (iii) Ss’ reading materials, (iv) and lexical errors from their free written work II. Multiple choice items (A)Choose the word which is nearest in the meaning to the word in italicsThe stem is replaced by the picture. The stem consists of a definition.The stem consists of a lexical item (choose the best synonym or definition)The stem consists of a sentence. (Vocabulary tested in context as the context giving specific meaning and relevance to a word a situation should be as linguistically valid as possible II. Multiple choice items (B)more difficult to construct than those in group A too little context insufficient to establish any meaningful situation, but too much context many clues both grammatical and semanticII. Multiple choice items (B)(p. 56-57)The context: a dialogue; however, the provision of a context limits the test constructor to testing only the vocabulary associated with a particular topic.The choice between the use of single sentences and the use of paragraphs  determined by the purpose of the test and the test writer’s own approach to communicative aspects of language learning. III. Guidelines for writing vocabulary items (1 & 2 )(1) If the problem area being tested is located in the options, the stem should be kept simple (type 2). However, if the problem is included in the stem, the options themselves should be simple (type 3 &4). (2) Each option should belong to the same word class as the word in the stemIII. Guidelines for writing vocabulary items (3, 4 & 5) (3) The correct option and the distractors should be at approximately the same level of difficulty.(4) There is some disagreement concerning the relationship of the options to the problems being tested. Some test writers argue that the options should be related to the same general topic or area, while others prefer as wide range of associations as possible. (5) All the options should be approximately the same length.IV. Sets (associated words)Type 1: RecognitionOne word in the list doesn’t belong to the others.Circle the odd word in each list.A. departA. trafficA. hard-workingB. go awayB. carB. disorganizedC. arriveC. busC. creativeD. leaveD. subwayD. reliableIV. Sets (associated words)con.Type 2: Production Each group of words is related to a particular subject. Write down the particular subject which is connected with each group of word. potato chip	A. listening to music 	A. garlic hamburger 	B. playing sports	B. saltpizza 	C. watching TV	C. pepperD. fried chicken	D. collecting stamps	D. sugar= fast food = hobbies	= spicesV. Matching items (p.58-60)Type 1: testing lexical items from different word classesType 2: testing verb tense formsType 3: testing lexical items from the same world classType 4: items based on a reading comprehension passage (the most useful type). Sts are given a list of words at the end of the passage and required to find words of similar or different meaning in the passage VI. More objective itemsWord formation items e.g. (care) Be.. when you cross the road.Items involving synonyms e.g. I came cross an interesting book. .found it by chance.. Rearrange items e.g. ROLRY LORRY Definitions: this type of item tests writing ability in addition to a knowledge of word meanings.VII. Completion items Read a passage containing incomplete words; and write completed words. e.g. Snakes are one of the (1) d-m-n--t groups of (2)r-pt----. (1) dominant (2) reptileComplete each blank (in conversation or passage) with the most appropriate word. (Read more examples on page 62)

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