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Assessment 4 technologies final version

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  • 1. UNIVERSIDAD CATÓLICA DE LA SANTÍSIMA CONCEPCIÓN Assessment 4 “Online performance-based assessment instruments” Melissa Arévalo Gatica, María Francisca Rojas 29/06/2013
  • 2. System of the language: Vocabulary Website http://www.englishexercises.org/makeagame/viewgame.asp?id=6165 This vocabulary game/exercise was taken from: http://www.englishexercises.org/exercise.asp?id=6165#a This website presents different options for students to be assessed such as: grammar, vocabulary, listening comprehension and writing. But the section that we will be focusing on is vocabulary. In the following lines we are going to discuss the pros and the cons of this website by basing us in the principles provided by Brown D., Coombe,Ch. et al. and Bachman,L & Palmer,A. PROS: The website contains different topics regarding vocabulary such as: friends, food, family, animals, jobs, music, etc. Students can find dynamic exercises with colours and pictures in which he or she can associate the picture with the word (new vocabulary). And also complete sentences that help to understand the meaning of the word. In terms of the principles of the language assessment, this website is reliable, because the instructions are clear and the answers do not allow deviation, so scores should not be affected because of bad instructions or the presence of a clock ticking away. This website is created for students to exercise and hopefully improve their English, so the pressure for finishing the exercise at a certain time should not be present. When it comes to practicality, this website is very practical, since it is free for people to use it; everyone that has internet connection has the opportunity to practice and learn new vocabulary through this website; also, it is not time consuming since the exercises provided by the webpage are short, dynamic, and include few items per tests. It is also reliable in the sense that the page provides the student with a qualitative score, so the student can know the quality of his/her work. Student-related reliability and Rater reliability should not be affected since students are able to do the test from their houses or the place they find more comfortable to work and subjectivity or bias do not enter
  • 3. into the scoring process because the answers in this types of tests are closed and the answers are checked by a computer. The test is also valid, because it measures the target vocabulary; this means that it is appropriate, meaningful and useful. It presents content validity because, taking into account that the aim for students is to learn new vocabulary and to practice it; the webpage presents appropriate exercises to measure that. For example, in the topic “places in town” the test consists on selecting the name of the place for each image. Then, to match the definition with the number of the image of the previous part and, later on, to write the correct number for the images above with its corresponding names and finally to write the name of the place that corresponds to each picture. In this way, the test is measuring the target vocabulary by making the student to relate the vocabulary with images and then, to write the corresponding word. Regarding authenticity, the website presents contextualized items, such as in the case of the name “Toy Store” and the context of the usage of that word is provided in a sentence and in a picture. However, some of the items are isolated, but only because they are aimed for the student to recognize the picture with its corresponding word such as in the case of the topic “places in town”. Regarding usefulness, the website presents the level and age for which the test aims, in this case we can find tests for elementary and intermediate students that want to either learn new vocabulary or practice what they are learning at schools. Even though it does not state a clear purpose, but the specific language to be tested is stated. CONS: In terms of washback, the website does not provide a detailed feedback on the student’s performance; it only gives the student a qualitative score (fail-average-very good- excellent). This is not fair for students that want to know in which items they did it better or worse, so the only choice here is to get everything right because specified feedback is not present at the end of the test. Regarding transparency, the information provided by the web page does not specify when giving instructions, for example, the first item only commands students to
  • 4. “choose the correct option” and this may be ambiguous for some students that need further information in order to complete the task and get a good score; also, it does not provide student neither with the weighing for each section nor the final mark, because, as we said before, it evaluates quality, not quantity, so the student cannot know his/her results as a concrete mark. Moreover, this webpage presents impact only at the level of the student (micro-level) since it aims to help him/her to learn and practice what it has been taught in his/her schools. The impact is very little since students are the only ones that see their work; besides, they can re-check their answers as much as they want until they get the higher score. Furthermore, the principle of interactiveness it is not present since these tests are directed to all students by equal, this means that the test tasks makes no distinction among students: there is no deviation neither in topics nor themes. Hence, they are not adjust into students’ needs, they are uniform for everyone. Finally, since we are dealing with an online website, this means that everyone has access to it: teachers and students. In here, the principle of security is affected, because if a teacher wants students to answer a quiz using this page, students might be tempted to look for the answers online. For this reason, we do not recommend that teachers use this page as part of a summative assessment; instead, this website is useful for students to practice their vocabulary and to learn new words.
  • 5. System of the language: Grammar Website: http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/complex_tests/simple_present1/index.php This grammar exercises were taken from: http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en This website presents different features of English, like grammar and vocabulary exercises, literature books, games, daily lessons, etc. The following analysis is based on a specific feature of the website, grammar exercises. The webpage presents a variety of aspects of grammar to be assessed, such as articles, adverbs, tenses, etc. It presents explanations, exercises and tests for students to complete. The following analysis is based on the present simple tense. In the following lines we are going to discuss the pros and the cons of this website by basing us in the principles provided by Brown D., Coombe,Ch. et al. and Bachman,L & Palmer,A. PROS: The website contains different alternatives regarding a variety of grammatical features: articles, sentence patterns, adverbs, etc. When it comes to tenses, the website presents a full review of all the tenses with exercises, explanations and tests, which makes it very complete. In terms of the principles of the language assessment this website is very reliable, because it allows no deviation in terms of giving an answer to an exercise; this means that answers are precise and closed, and it does not lead to subjectivity. It also presents a lot of items for students to practice within the test; in this sense, and as we have reviewed it throughout the course: the more items a test have, the more reliable it is because teachers have more samples of students’ language ability. Regarding practicality, this website is free for any student that has an internet connection and it is not time consuming since students have the possibility to choose how many items he/she will answer. The score is also provided immediately which helps to fulfil this principle.
  • 6. This website is also valid because it measures what has been previously explained (the explanation refers to the present simple tense and the exercises and the test measure and asses that specific tense). In this sense, content validity is present since test takers are going to be assessed on what they have been practicing before taking the test. When it comes to the principle of authenticity, the exercises presented on the website are based on contextualized situations which the learner can encounter in real life (i.e. daily routines expressed in simple present). This is very important because authenticity makes the test more meaningful and motivating for students to use the learning outcomes in real life. In terms of washback the website provides a detailed feedback, because when you press the button that says “check answers” smiley and sad faces appear on the answers in order to indicate if you got it right or wrong; additionally, grammatical explanations to the students’ mistakes are presented. This is very useful for students that have problems with grammar, by entering in this website they can exactly know what went wrong and fix it by learning from the feedback provided and extra exercises for the student’s level. Regarding usefulness, the website presents the years that the student or the test taker has been dealing with the language, so that the person who is taking the test chooses the option that fits best for his/her situation. This makes the website very complete because it provides from the easiest exercises (for elementary students) to the most difficult ones (upper intermediate or advanced). CONS: In terms of transparency, the website does not provide the students with the weighting of each item until they check the whole test; however, weightings are presented at the end of the test so that students can see what went wrong and take the test again until they get it right. Finally, it is not recommendable for teachers to use this website for classroom quizzes (summative assessment) because, considering the fact that this is a public website and that it requires internet connection, students might look for the answer in advanced and cheat, so the system of security will be affected.
  • 7. When it comes to interactiveness, this website does not fulfil the principle, because it is directed to all students by equal, which means that personal motivations of the students, or his/her own personal context is not taken into consideration, Regarding impact, the website only aims to help in the learning process of the student as an individual; it does not have an impact on the School community/Environment.
  • 8. References: -Bachman, L. F. & Palmer, A. (1996). Language testing in practice: designing and developing useful language tests. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press -Brown, H. D. (2004). Language assessment principles and classroom practices.New York: Pearson Education -Coombe, C., Folse, K. Hubley, N. (2007). A practical guide to assessing English language learners. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.