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Language Assessments Language Assessments Lecture 4 Vocabulary Testing Instructor: Dr. Tung-hsien He

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1 Language Assessments Language Assessments Lecture 4 Vocabulary Testing Instructor: Dr. Tung-hsien He

2 Selection of Items: Selection of Items: a. Active vs. Passive Vocabulary (Refer to p. 51, Heaton) b. Rule: “the more elementary the level of the test, the greater the number of items associated with the spoken language”. c. Sources of Lexical Items: (1) syllabus (2) textbooks (3) reading materials

3 (4) lexical errors taken from students’ free-written works Ambiguous Item: Correct the following sentence: Is the government going to contribute the new industry? (Think about alternative items to avoid the ambiguity.) (5) consult with word lists provided by dictionary like Cambridge English Lexicon & The Wright Frequency Count

4 d. Cautions: When vocabulary is tested, make sure grammatical structures are not tested as well. Item Type I: Multiple-Choice Item: Type A (Synonym- Oriented) Item Type I: Multiple-Choice Item: Type A (Synonym- Oriented) I:Typical Items: 1. Choose the word that is the nearest in meaning to the underlined word. (The stem is a sentence that provides contexts where vocabulary is used) He has been very feeble since his illness. a. unwell b. thin c. foolish d. weak.

5 2. Choose the word that is the nearest in meaning to the underlined word. advocate a. support b. advise c. contradict d. damage (The item is a lexical item, and testees have to select the best synonym or definition) 3. Choose the word that is the nearest in meaning to these words. a person who receives and pays out money in a bank

6 a. broker b. accountant c. creditor d. cashier (The items contains definition.) 4. a. football b. basketball b. basketball c. volleyball c. volleyball d. baseball d. baseball II: Writing Principles for this type of items:

7 1. Decide whether intended problems (the major points for be tested) should be located in stems or in distractors. If it is in stems, the distractors should be simple (like No. 1 item) and vice versa (like No. 3 item: the problem is in distractors) 2. Each distractor and the problem in the stem should belong to the same word class 3. The length of each distractor should be as identical as possible.

8 4. All distractors should be at the same level of difficulty. 5. Limit the problems & options to the same general area. (See p. 55, Number 4, Item 1 & 2: Apparition) 6. Avoid using a pair of synonyms as distractors (Why?) 7. Avoid using a pair of antonyms as distractors (Why? See p. 55, the Last item)

9 Item Type: Multiple-Choice Item: Type B (Collocation-Oriented) Item Type: Multiple-Choice Item: Type B (Collocation-Oriented) I: Typical Item: I saw a terrible ____ between two cars today. a. happening b. dangerc. damaged. accident II: Features a. Testees have to understand the grammatical structures and meanings of distractors to find out the correct options.

10 b. Too much information in grammatical, semantic, and syntactic contexts can serve as clues for testees to guess the right option. E.g.: John _____ me of a boy I used to know. a. remindsb. neglects c. rumors d. surfs c. Communicative contexts in terms of dialogues are widely used to provide necessary contexts (See p.57, Dialogues)

11 d. Using dialogues will limit the range of vocabulary that can be tested, whereas single sentence vocabulary items will not. e. Single sentence vocabulary may not provide enough contexts (contextual clues) for testees to choose the right options, whereas the dialogue items can. III: Rules of Thumb 1. Always test vocabulary in contexts (in sentences)

12 2. Incorporate vocabulary testing into reading comprehension or grammar or other types of testing if the knowledge of grammatical structures are necessary as contextual information is provided. Item Type: Sets Item Type: Sets I: Types: a. Recognition b. Production (See p. 58 for detail)

13 II:Features: To test testees’ familiarity with the range of associations of certain sets of vocabulary. Item Type: Matching Items Item Type: Matching Items I: Types (See p ): a. Matching vocabulary to complete a passage b. Matching vocabulary to complete different sentences II: Principles: a. Providing more alternative than required

14 b. Using alternatives that belong to the same class Item Type: Word Formation /Synonyms/Rearrangements Items (See p. 61) Item Type: Word Formation /Synonyms/Rearrangements Items (See p. 61) Item Type: Completion Items (See p ). Item Type: Completion Items (See p ).


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