5 Testing Vocabulary
5.1 Selection of items
The tasks for the writer of a vocabulary test:
determine the degree decide if the lexical consider four
to concentrate on testing -- item should be taken major skills to the active or passive from spoken or written -- select vocabulary
vocabulary language to test
Problems about testing vocabulary:
- if the testees have followed different syllabuses.
5.2 Multiple-choice items (A)
Type 4: Generally speaking, if the problem area is given in a context, it makes the test easy for the testees and is so useful, too. This item type is preferred to the others (Type1 with a picture for meaning, Type 2 with a definition, Type 3 with just a lexical item for meaning)
· Guidelines for writing items:
1. If the problem area being tested is located in the options, the stem should be kept simple.
2. Each option should belong to the same word class as the word in the stem, when particularly when the word appears in the context of a sentence.
3. The correct option and the distractors should be at approximately the same level of difficulty.
5. All the options should be approximately the same length.
6. It is advisable to avoid using a pair of synonyms or antonyms.
5.3 Multiple-choice items (B)
- More difficult to construct than those previous section.
- These item types are insufficient to establish any meaningful situation, while too much context may provide too many clues both grammatical and semantic. They provide grammatical clues useful but belong to more grammar.
- There is an argument about that some multiple-choice items ignore the ability to create unexpected collocations.
- Some multiple-choice items take account of cultural differences. It is even more important than usual to provide a context for these particular kinds of items.
- The supply 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 providing a far fuller context ll be determined by the purpose of the test and the test writer’s own approach to he communicative aspects of the language learning.
5.4 Sets (associated words)
Many difficulties arising from the testing of collocations are avoided by the testing of word sets. In such tests the students’ familiarity with a range of association is measured. There are two types- recognition and production.
5.5 Matching items
- Type 1 of these item types suffers from testing lexical items from different word classes, Type 2 tests a mixed bag of tense forms, etc. In the both types of test items grammatical clues assume great importance to limit the range of choices facing the testees for each blank. They ll more useful to test words from the same class or parallel tense forms. Otherwise they will measure grammar but not vocabulary
- Type 3 gives the student too little choice for the blanks in a paragraph. The words in this type are in the same class but it lacks of choices.
- Reading comprehension passage: It is the most useful type of matching items. The reasons are a detailed context and little additional material. It measures to find words of similar meaning in the passage. Its danger is the copying(duplication) of questions: &&
The reading text contains only vocabulary and does not include comprehension questions in order that the test constructor can be sure that the ability to answer the comprehension questions does not depend on a knowledge of the individual words selected for the vocabulary test.
5.6 More objective items
Word formation test items and Items involving synonyms: They are useful for classroom testing. However, Items involving synonyms types (b) have some disadvantages:
- phonological element(rhyming) confuse testees instead of helping them.
- have sheer novelty.
- The item is of little use.
- They are not recommended for most purposes.
- The activity involved is more a game than a test.
- Words are in isolation.
1- Which one of the followings determines the choice of the context in testing vocabulary?
a- the student’s ability
b- the purpose of the test
c- the options of the item
d- the difficulties of the words tested
2- What are the most suitable items to test collocations?
3- Why is the reading comprehension passage useful and economical?
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