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BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 1 Is it difficult to make a listening test? Svetla Tashevska New Bulgarian University, Sofia.

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Presentation on theme: "BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 1 Is it difficult to make a listening test? Svetla Tashevska New Bulgarian University, Sofia."— Presentation transcript:

1 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 1 Is it difficult to make a listening test? Svetla Tashevska New Bulgarian University, Sofia

2 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 2 Your Practice How often do you use published tests? Do you use tests of your own design? How often? Do you include tasks for listening comprehension in your classroom tests? If yes, what kind of tasks do learners do in the listening part of your tests? If not, why not?

3 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 3 Designing own tests A lot of teachers find that: recorded material - not easily available difficult to select appropriate passages difficult to design test tasks …

4 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 4 Designing own tests has the advantage that teachers : can cater for their particular students’ needs (and not for an impersonal, international student’s needs) can use their own and their students’ creativity in making/ doing the test …

5 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 5 The nature of listening When people listen - nothing to observe/ to judge by that comprehension is taking/ has taken place. Problems for the listener - transient nature of the spoken word (cannot go backwards and forwards over what is being heard like in a written text)

6 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 6 So, the job of the test designer - to set such listening tasks which will reliably demonstrate that students have successfully understood. Is that so difficult?

7 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 7 Is that so difficult? To look for the answer - consider some techniques for testing listening comprehension experience some of them analyze them and decide if this is so.

8 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 8 Some techniques & what they test True/ False A picture Spoken statements (e.g. - Heaton, J.B.)

9 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 9

10 10 Some techniques & what they test Multiple Choice A set of three or four pictures A spoken statement (e.g. - Heaton, J.B., Madsen, H.)

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13 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 13 Some techniques & what they test Information transfer (drawing a route on a sketch/map, labelling diagrams/pictures, completing a form/a table) ->“Picture dictation” An incomplete picture or a blank page (not important how well/ badly the Ss can draw; minimal demands on the other language skills)

14 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 14 Picture Dictation An incomplete picture (a simple line drawing) (e.g. - Heaton, J.B.) A blank page, laid lengthwise (e.g. - Rinvolucri, M.)

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18 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 18 Extended communication using a social/ business context not based on visuals (e.g. – Madsen) Typical test items: (1) What time of day is it? A.MorningB. AfternoonC. Evening (2) What is the customer doing? A. Buying an airplane ticket.B. Checking on someone’s flightC. Checking in at an airline terminal

19 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 19 Some practical advice When designing multiple choice items: use as much visual material as possible to avoid interference of other language skills; keep the stem/ the question short ; use three (instead of four) options; keep the language of the options simple; …

20 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 20 Some practical advice When writing items for extended listening (e.g. to a talk): focus on the most important points from the content – the general meaning and intention of the message; avoid testing memorization of unimportant or irrelevant points; space out the items throughout the passage (keep the items well apart from each other): we should not punish the students for not being able to answer a subsequent item because it ‘comes’ too soon after the previous one; pay attention to signposting (signaling that certain information is about to be heard in the passage, e.g. After considering these two factors, …; My last point is …): it is only fair that students should be warned by key words (in the test item and the passage) about that;

21 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 21 Extended listening (continued) give sufficient time to students to look through the items before they listen to the relevant excerpts: familiarization with the items will compensate to some extent for the lack of extra- linguistic features which help comprehension in real life situations (some experts) do not exclude allowing/ accepting responses in the students’ mother tongue in some circumstances (understandable when there is someone who does not speak English but is part of a project team, for instance, and needs to understand certain information, which we interpret for him/her)

22 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 22 Conclusion The best listening tests for your students can only be designed by you!

23 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 23 References Heaton, J. B. (1988), Writing English Language Tests, 2nd edition, Longman Handbooks for Language Teachers, London & New York: Longman Hughes, A. (1989), Testing for Language Teachers, Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Madsen, H. (1983), Techniques in Testing, Teaching Techniques in English as a second Language, Oxford American English, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press Rinvolucri, M. & Davies, Dictation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

24 BETA, 25.04.2010, V.Turnovo 24 Thank you! See you again! See you again! Svetlana Tashevska

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