Testing Listening Comprehension Chapter 11 Presentation by : Sajjad Ghadamyari Date of presentation : Dec. 16, 2014 - Tuesday
Listening Comprehension in general Some points about listening skill: Listening is one of the most fundamental skills. Primarily, communication is feasible when the two parties involved are able to comprehend each other. Listening comprehension test items often combine listening with reading or writing. The testee hears the stimulus and indicates his comprehension by writing or marking one of the provided chioces in the test. Tests of listening comprehension attempt to measure the examinees’ ability to compehend and interpret the oral stimuli. Aims of Testing Listening Comprehension in different levels: Beginning and low-intermediate level: assess the testees’ comprehension of the specific elements of language statements, questions and brief conversational exchanges. Higher-intermediate and advanced level: assess the examinees’ understanding of both informal and formal lectures and their comprehension of native speakers in all kinds of speech situations.
Types of Items Generally speaking, listening comprehension should be tested through a procedure that requires the testee to listen to the stimulus material and choose one of the choices based on the information available in the stimulus itself. “Pure” item of listening comprehension: These items do not require the testees to read or write. When you simply ask a question to be answeded, or you mention specific oral instructions to be carried out by the testee: “What are you going to eat for dinner ?” Or “ Ali, please point to the picture of “tree” in the page.” Points on “giving oral instructions” ( Pure Items) : It’s suitable for children and beginners since its format does not require the testee to produce langage in any form to show their understanding of the command. It limits the testing of only requests and imperatives. Also, this kind of item has to be administered to the examinees individually.
In a broader classification, different items are introduced. These items include a verbal stimulus and printed choices. Pictures Pictures offer various possibilities to assess short samples of speech. The testee is given a picture and asked to answer a multiple-choice or true/false question. “ The man is washing the car.” T F What is the man in the picture doing ? He is … A)Washing the car B) Walking in the park C) Drinking water D) Washing his hands
Questions In this type, the testee hears a question once and selects a proper response from four choices printed in his/her test paper. “How often do you exercise?” A) Every day B) Hard C) In the park D) Soccer Since the item in this type tests listening comprehension, the reading task should be kept to the minimum. All the choices should be grmmatical and sensible responses. Statements In this type, the examinee hears a statement for which he chooses a paraphrase from four written choices. “ Merry would have been the winner if she had tried hard.” A) Merry was the winner. B) Merry tried hard. C) Merry wasn’t the winner. D) Merry wasn’t in the match.
Dictation Dictation is probably a good way to measure listening comprehension ability. In this type, the tester reads out a passage and testees write down whatever they hear. Understanding the meaning of the passage and comprehending its elements and their realtionship is vital. Dialogs The dialog type is closer to real-life use than the last types. In this type, the examinee hears a conversation between two speakers. A third voice then asks a question about the dialog. Straightforward Questions: Paul: “I want to buy a packet of popcorn for myself. What are you gioing to buy ?” Jane: “I must buy a kilogram of beans to make myself dinner.” Third person : “What is Jane going to do with beans?” She is going to … A) sell them B) make dinner C) give them to her friend D) make breakfast
Inference-Making Questions: Paul: “I want to buy a packet of popcorn for myself. What are you gioing to buy ?” Jane: “I must buy a kilogram of beans to make myself dinner. Let’s go find what we want.” Third person : “Where are Paul and Jane?” They are … A) at home B) in a restaurant C) at a grocery-store D) in a farm Lectures and Talks The ability to understand formal lectures and talks is a vital skill. In order to evaluate the rate of this ability, a university-type lecture or a short-talk followed by comprehension questions can be used. The testees listen to a 7-10 minute lecture and they can take notes. After the lecture, they should answer questions about the content, using their notes if they wish. In selecting texts for this type, the content should be unfamiliar to the testees so that it demands their attentive listening. The text chosen should be real and natural, i.e. it should represent typical speech situations that the testees are likely to face, e.g. formal lectures, casual chats, face-to-face meetings, telephone or radio messages, commercials, etc.
Sample Lecture Sample Lecture Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure to announce you that a conference will be held on October 25, 2015 in Tehran. The conference will focus on the new English Language coursebooks called “PROSPECT”. This conference will analyse this series totally and academically and will focus on its discourse analysis, book evaluation, cultural analysis and content analysis. This conference will be held in collaboration with the General Office of Education. All respectable teachers and professors are welcomed to present their papers. All the necessary information and instructions are posted in the main website of conference. Wish you success. Questions Questions 1.When will the conference be held ? A)October 25, 2050 B) October 29, 2015 C) October 25, 2015 D) October 29, 2050 2. What subject do the “PROSPECT” coursebooks refer to ? A)Academic B) English Language C) Education D) General 3) Which one will not be focused in the conference ? A) Discourse analysis B) Content analysis C) Cultural evaluation D) Cultural analysis
Distorted Message A procedure that can estimate and evaluate readiness for English in real-life contexts comprises oral stimulus materials with noise added in the background. In this type, the students are asked to write down what they hear. Some multiple-choice comprehension questions can also be applied to check their understanding. Experience has proved that even graduates of EFL are usually unable to understand the language under adverse conditions, e.g. announcements of airport (which is done in a high level of noise), or a message on the telephone ( which may be accompanied by noises around the caller). One advantage of native-speakers here is that they are able to make compensations by relying on expectations and guesses regarding the context and the speaker.
Sample of Distorted Listening Task Sample of Distorted Listening Task Brian: So, where are you heading for? Jane: I’m heading for Aspen. Brian : Aspen is really beautiful. Why are you going there? Jane: I’m going there to meet my friend. I miss her too much. Where are you heading? Brian: I’m heading for Bojnord. I’m going to attend an English conference on material development in Bojnord University. I’m a keynote speaker there. Questions Questions Write down the conversation between Brian and Jane. Why is Jane heading for Aspen ? Because … A)Aspen is beautiful. B) She’s going to meet her friend. C) She’s going to attend a conference. D) She’s going to meet her family.
Guidelines for Constructing Listening Comprehension Items Some general guidelines are suggested to be applied in constructing items for testing listening comprehension. 1.Selection of pictures should be done with great care. They should be simple and easy-to-understand, i.e. they should have one inerpretation for all testees. 2.Samples of spoken stimuli should represent typical real-life speech activities such as lectures, phone calls, various announcements, radio programs, commercials, etc. The content of the stimulus should be unfamiliar to the testees. 3.The choices should all appear correct to the less proficient testees who have not grasped the full stimulus. “ Where did John go ?” A) Yesterday B) Yes,he did C)To Tehran D)To rest. The choices should be brief and free from any grammatical and lexical difficulty.
4. Four considerations are important in constructing questions on dialogs or lectures. First, the questions should be concerned with overall comprehension or interpretation of the stimulus material. They should not ask for detailed information. Second, the lead or the question, should introduce the problem. John is … A)Always happy with his friends in school. B)Enjoying to have his meals in school. C)Having difficulty understanding science and math subjects. D)Feeling excited by the environment of school. In this item, the testee is confused by the vagueness of the item. He/She has to read all the choices before he knows what he is expected. Third, the choices should require the testees to listen attentively. Fourth, items that require outside knowledge must be avoided.
5. The oral stimuli can be presented to the testees either live, i.e. by the tester, or played on a tape. If the test is to be administered only once, live oral stimuli is easier to be carried. If the test is to be administered in different occasions, playing a tape is superior since it can secure the test reliability.
Imam Sadiq (P) says: “ If you blame a person for doing a sin, you won’t die till you yourself do the same sin.” امام صادق ( علیه السلام ): اگر انسانی، انسانی را به خاطر گناهی سرزنش کند ، نمیرد تا خود به آن گناه مرتکب شود. “Don’t judge others’ way of walking till you haven’t puy their shoes on…” “WISH YOU LUCK”