Testingvocabulary By: Ahdab Al Zolaibani Bothaina Al Zolaibani Dua’a Mofty Salha Khafaji Ling 406
Outline of the presentationDefinition of VocabularyThe Importance of VocabularyDefinition of TestingThe Importance of TestingWhy Do We Test Vocabulary?Questions for Teachers PreparingVocabulary Tests
Types of Questions in a Vocabulary TestExamples of Methods for TestingVocabularyOther Methods Teachers can Use to TestVocabularyProblems Associated with TestingVocabulary
Definition of vocabularyThe set of words within a language that arefamiliar are known as a person’s vocabulary.Vocabulary develops with age and is a crucialtool for communicating and acquiring language.Acquiring an extensive vocabulary is one of thelargest challenges in learning a secondlanguage.
The importance of vocabularyA large vocabulary helps us to communicateand express what we mean.The size of your vocabulary is directly linkedto your reading comprehension.A person may be judged by others based onhis or her vocabulary.
Definition of testingA procedure for critical evaluation; a meansof determining the presence, quality, ortruth of something.In terms of human beings, testing tells whatlevel of knowledge or skill has beenacquired.
The importance of testingThrough a well-crafted test, a teacher can find out: If the student has understood the course that has been taught or not. The students’ strengths and weaknesses.Tests and examinations are the main motivation forstudents to study.Tests provide a good dose of healthy stress andanxiety that is good training for challenges to beovercome in real life.
Why do we test vocabulary?Teachers need to know how developed theirstudents’ vocabulary knowledge is. (Why?) Without a basic vocabulary, the potential for developing a reading problem is great. Vocabulary knowledge is strongly related to overall reading comprehension. A limited vocabulary represents a limited understanding of concepts Well-developed vocabulary skills and wide background knowledge help individuals comprehend more difficult and complex material
Testing helps to recycle vocabulary as well as toconsolidate it.Testing vocabulary also occurs in placement testsor diagnostic tests to find out students level ofknowledge or in achievement tests at the end ofthe school year
Questions for teacherspreparing vocabulary testsBefore preparing a vocabulary test, teachers should askthemselves the following questions: How should I test vocabulary? Which kind of vocabulary should I test? Which format(s) should I use? How many items should I include? How important is context? Are there any tools or resources that can help me?
How should I test vocabulary?How a teacher intends to test vocabularyshould be connected to how they teach thecourse. Students should not be asked to simply memorize long vocabulary lists. Vocabulary words should be presented in context. When testing vocabulary, avoid testing words in isolation.
What kind of vocabulary should I test? In most cases, teachers should test vocabulary that they expect their students to know or to use. Research shows that learners can recognize more words than they can actually use. Teachers need to decide between testing high frequency words or more specialized technical vocabulary.
Teachers should include all the new wordsthat the students have covered in otheractivities (reading, listening, etc.)Words should be grouped according towhether their recognition or theirproduction is required.
When creating a vocabulary test, teachers candetermine a student’s knowledge of thefollowing: Word collocations. Word derivations. Word meanings. The part of speech of a word. The relative frequency of a word.
Which test format should I use?Teachers should take into consideration the followingissues before choosing a test format: Test validity. To select only the test formats that students are familiar with. Do not introduce a new test format in a testing situation. Practicality & wash back effect should be considered when choosing a format. Select formats that will allow easy interpretation of results, not necessarily easy marking. The chosen format should have a positive wash back effect.
How many items should I include?The number of items on a test is related to the conceptof test reliability.Reliability refers to the degree of consistency of testscores.In general, the more items on a test, the more reliable itis considered to be.As far as vocabulary tests are concerned, Nation (2001)recommends a minimum of 30 items for a reliablevocabulary test.
How important is context?Some test formats are “context-independent”, they present students withwords in isolation and require them to selectmeanings for the words without reference toany linguistic context.In “context-dependent” test formats, studentsare expected to make use of contextual clues.
Noted scholars in the field of vocabulary(Folse, 2003; Laufer, 1997) have pointedout the limitations involved withcontextual clues.Although teachers may provide theirstudents with contextual clues intests, they are rarely present in the realworld to the same degree.
Are there any tools orresources that can help me?There are many tools and resources that canhelp a language teacher in evaluatingvocabulary.One recommended resource can be found onthe website Tom Cobb’s Compleat LexicalTutor (www.lextutor.ca).The website is divided into three sections: Tutorial, Research, and Teachers.
Types of questions in a vocabulary testIn a vocabulary test, as in most othertests, there are two kinds or types ofquestions. Recognition items. Production items.
Examples of methods for testing vocabulary Recognition itemsMultiple choice tests. This technique is simple to mark but challenging and difficult to design. It can be used for testing single words, words in sentences or in texts. Teachers should take into account that students may guess the right answer without actually knowing the word. There is a 25% chance if there are 4 options. Students may also choose the correct answer without really knowing the word through a process of elimination.
There may be more than one possible answer amongthe choices.Teachers should use “distractors” in MCQ tests sothat the answer is not too obvious or easy to pick.However, some “distractors” are too distracting tothe students, or too close to the correct answer andwill confuse students.Multiple choice questions can be employed to test avariety of concepts. For example:
Recognize synonyms: Choose the alternative (a, b, c, d) which is closest in meaningto the word “gleam”. a) gather B) shine C) welcome D) cleanRecognize definitions: “loathe” means:a) Dislike intenselyb) Become seriously illc) Search carefullyd) Look very angry
Thornbury suggested another way of usingMultiple Choice questions which is unusual.He suggested the use of a contextualizedchoice test.In it, the options are put directly into a text.
Example of his idea: Someone else is (a) playing; b) calling; c) singing;) the tune, and for the moment you re quite happy to go (a) along; b) around; c) away) with what seems like a reasonable idea. Hobbies (a) make; b) use; c) take) up far too much time and children could need support with a new activity.
Recognize appropriate word for context: Students must show that they understand the appropriate word for the context. It can also be portrayed as a multiple choice question.
Example:The strong wind ________ the man’sefforts to put up the tent. a) disabled b) hampered c) deranged d) regaled
Production itemsThe testing of vocabulary productivity is so difficultthat it is practically never attempted in proficiencytests.The main difficulty is the need to limit the candidateto the (usually one) lexical item that we have inmind.However, there are still several methods aroundthis.
Using pictures: The teacher can display pictures of various objects/people and ask the students to write down the names of them. This method is obviously restricted to concrete nouns that are simple to name. An example is located in the book (p.182-183)
Definitions: The teacher writes the definition or meaning of a particular word and the students must answer with the word itself. This may work for a range of lexical items. However, not every word can be easily defined, and sometimes there is more than just one correct answer. The definition should be clear so that the students can understand it and come to the correct answer.
Example: A ________ is a person who looks after our teeth. ___________ is frozen water. __________ is the second month of the year.
Gap filling: This can take the form of one or more sentences with a single word missing. “because of the snow, the football match was ________ until the following week.”
Too often there is an alternative word to the onethat we had in mind.This problem can be solved by giving the first letterof the word and even an indication of the number ofletters in the word. Example: I r_______ have to tell you… Or I r_ _ _ _ _ have to tell you…
Expressive/ Peabody Vocabulary test: The teacher shows the student(s) pictures and asks the student to describe the picture. The teacher may show the student a picture and ask the student to give another meaning for a word. (Synonyms) The teacher may ask for the opposite meaning of a word while showing a picture to students. The test is quick to administer and can provide valid results and reliable scoring.
A Video demonstrating the ExpressiveVocabulary Test:
Other methods teachers can use to test vocabulary Translation. Oral testing. Associations. Placing. Synonyms and antonyms. Transformation. Writing/composition questions. Matching.
Problems associated with testing vocabularyTeachers should take into consideration the followingthe points when testing their students’ vocabulary: It is difficult to estimate the size of a student’s vocabulary. How many words does a student know? It is often difficult to decide which words should be included in an exam and which shouldn’t be. It is difficult to decide what is the criterion for knowing a word. Certain tests do not give valid and reliable results.