Chapter 4: Tests of grammar & usage

multiple - choice items

error recognition items

rearrange items

completion items

transformation items

items involving the changing of words

‘broken sentence’ items

pairing and matching items

combination items

addition items



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Chapter 4: Tests of grammar & usageHeaton, J.B. (1988). Writing English Language Tests. Longmanmultiple - choice itemserror recognition itemsrearrange itemscompletion itemstransformation itemsitems involving the changing of words‘broken sentence’ itemspairing and matching itemscombination itemsaddition items 1. Multiple - choice itemsthe incomplete statement type with a choice of four or five optionsSeven types of multiple – choice items in the textbook; however, item types 2 & 3 are preferable because the options do not interrupt the flow of meaning in the sentence: these items present the entire sentence so that it can be read at a glance. (read page 34 – 39) Constructing multiple choice itemsUse samples of students own written work to provide the basis for the test items.Constructors of classroom tests and school achievement tests should take advantage of the types of errors made by students in their free composition and open-ended answers to questions. 2. Constructing error recognition multiple-choice itemsType 1: Each sentence contains 4 words or phrases underlined, marked A, B, C and D. Select the underlined word or phrase which is incorrect or unacceptable. (TOEIC &TOEFL)Type 2: Each sentence is divided into 4 parts by slashes (//). Each part is marked by A, B, C and D. This item type allows test writer to test errors caused by omission. In practice, this method doesn’t work well. (page 40)3. Constructing rearrangement itemstaking several forms, the first of which to consider  the multiple - choice type.useful to change from a multiple-choice item format to a format involving some actual writingSs  unscrambling sentences and writing out each sentence, putting the words in their correct order 4. Constructing completion itemsCareful constructed completion items  useful means of testing a student’s ability to produce acceptable and appropriate forms of language These items measure production rather than recognition, testing the ability to insert the most appropriate words in selected blanks in sentences.The words selected for omission: grammatical or functional words (e.g. preposition, articles.); content words selected in a reading or vocabulary test. Completion items cannot be machine marked. 5. Constructing transformation itemsextremely useful for testing ability to produce structure in the target language and helping to provide balance when included in tests containing multiple choice items. It can measure some of the skills tested in composition writing.6. Constructing items involving the changing of wordsThis type of item is useful for testing the student’s ability to use correct tenses and verb forms. 7. Constructing ‘broken sentence’ itemstesting the student’s ability to write full sentences from a series of words and phrases, so it does not allow the test writer to concentrate exclusively on testing those particular grammatical features practiced in the classroom.When setting this item, the instructions should be clear. One or two examples should be provided.8. Constructing pairing and matching itemsUsually consisting of a short conversation: e.g. a stimulus in the form of a statement or question followed by a response often in the form of a statementUsed to test ability to select appropriate responses to stimuli which would be presented orally in normal everyday situationsUseful for testing students’ sensitivity to appropriacy and their awareness of the functions of the language rather than the knowledge of grammar9. Constructing combination & addition items These objective type items have long been used in past tests. They should be used sparingly as they involve largely mechanical responses. 

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