Testing grammar

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This Power Point presentation will give you the basic guidelines as well the main and most important aspects to be considered when testing and evaluating Grammar among your students.

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Testing grammar

  1. 1. TestingTesting GrammarGrammar Jonathan MagdalenaJonathan Magdalena
  2. 2. WhatWhat are we trying toare we trying to MEASUREMEASURE?? ““EnglishEnglish grammargrammar is chiefly a system ofis chiefly a system of syntaxsyntax that decidesthat decides thethe orderorder andand patternspatterns in whichin which words are arrangedwords are arranged into sentences.into sentences.”” ((Close, 1982)Close, 1982)
  3. 3. WhyWhy should we testshould we test grammargrammar??  LinguisticLinguistic or communicative competence?or communicative competence?  StructuresStructures or functions?or functions?  UsageUsage or use?or use?  PrescriptivePrescriptive or descriptive?or descriptive?
  4. 4. HowHow should we testshould we test grammargrammar??  SeparatedSeparated from skills?from skills?  DiscreteDiscrete pointpoint or integrative items?or integrative items?  Focus onFocus on grammargrammar or meaning?or meaning?
  5. 5. What are the most commonWhat are the most common test formatstest formats forfor testing grammar?testing grammar? RECOGNITIONRECOGNITION  Multiple choice items (Liu, 121)Multiple choice items (Liu, 121)  Error-recognition items (Liu, 129)Error-recognition items (Liu, 129)  True/False (Baxter, 35)True/False (Baxter, 35)  Pairing and matching itemsPairing and matching items  Cloze/Modified Cloze (Hughes, 144)Cloze/Modified Cloze (Hughes, 144)
  6. 6. What are the most commonWhat are the most common test formatstest formats forfor testing grammar?testing grammar? ProductionProduction  Completion items (Hughes, 143)Completion items (Hughes, 143)  Transformation items (Liu, 131)Transformation items (Liu, 131)  Paraphrase (Hughes, 143)Paraphrase (Hughes, 143)  RearrangementRearrangement  EditingEditing  Combination and addition itemsCombination and addition items  Items involving the changing of wordsItems involving the changing of words
  7. 7. WhenWhen should we go forshould we go for grammargrammar recognitionrecognition?? When…When…  More material needs to be covered.More material needs to be covered.  You want to test different levels ofYou want to test different levels of learning.learning.  You have little time for scoring.You have little time for scoring.  You are not interested in evaluatingYou are not interested in evaluating how well a test taker can formulate ahow well a test taker can formulate a correct answer.correct answer.  You have a large number of test takers.You have a large number of test takers.
  8. 8. WhenWhen should we go forshould we go for grammargrammar productionproduction?? When…When…  You want to evaluate a person’s abilityYou want to evaluate a person’s ability to formulate a correct answer.to formulate a correct answer.  You have more time to score the itemsYou have more time to score the items  You want to test a persons ability toYou want to test a persons ability to apply concepts and information to aapply concepts and information to a new situation.new situation.  You have a clear idea of the aspectsYou have a clear idea of the aspects and concepts that should be tested.and concepts that should be tested.
  9. 9. True/FalseTrue/False Is this sentences true or false?Is this sentences true or false? ““He works from Monday to Friday”He works from Monday to Friday”  Does not demonstrate broader knowledgeDoes not demonstrate broader knowledge  Difficult to construct in higher levelsDifficult to construct in higher levels  Encourages guessing due to 50/50 chanceEncourages guessing due to 50/50 chance  Difficult to test attitudes toward learningDifficult to test attitudes toward learning
  10. 10. Multiple ChoiceMultiple Choice John usually ______from Monday to FridayJohn usually ______from Monday to Friday a. works b. worked c. has worked d. is workinga. works b. worked c. has worked d. is working  They can be tricky or too pickyThey can be tricky or too picky  Difficult to test attitudes towards learningDifficult to test attitudes towards learning  Knowledge is limited to options providedKnowledge is limited to options provided  Difficult to construct at higher levelsDifficult to construct at higher levels  Encourages guessing (25% chance)Encourages guessing (25% chance)  More than one option may be possibleMore than one option may be possible  All options must be grammatically possibleAll options must be grammatically possible
  11. 11. Gap-FillingGap-Filling John usually ______(work) from Monday to FridayJohn usually ______(work) from Monday to Friday  They must be part of a broader contextThey must be part of a broader context  More than one option may be possibleMore than one option may be possible  First gap may be offered as a sampleFirst gap may be offered as a sample  Difficult to test attitudes towards learningDifficult to test attitudes towards learning  Knowledge is limited to options providedKnowledge is limited to options provided  Limitations result in negative backwashLimitations result in negative backwash  Focus should be on the aspect assessed.Focus should be on the aspect assessed.
  12. 12. Cloze/C-testCloze/C-test  Tests student’s understanding of the wholeTests student’s understanding of the whole languagelanguage  More than one option may be possibleMore than one option may be possible  First letter may be offered as a sampleFirst letter may be offered as a sample  Some words may be impossible to guessSome words may be impossible to guess  Can test student’s IQ rather than languageCan test student’s IQ rather than language proficiencyproficiency John is new in town. He moved here for two reasons. First,John is new in town. He moved here for two reasons. First, ______ found a job in a food company ______ is______ found a job in a food company ______ is established here; secondly, he desperately wantedestablished here; secondly, he desperately wanted ______ be closer to his girlfriend, Susan Sommers,______ be closer to his girlfriend, Susan Sommers, ______ recently moved to our neighboring town.______ recently moved to our neighboring town.
  13. 13. Sentence BuildingSentence Building Friday/usually/to/John/Monday/workFriday/usually/to/John/Monday/work  Tests recognition and/or productionTests recognition and/or production  More than one option may be possibleMore than one option may be possible  Capital letters and punctuation mayCapital letters and punctuation may interfere in the production of the answerinterfere in the production of the answer  It gives no context as reference toIt gives no context as reference to grammar use.grammar use.  It actually challenges knowledge of syntaxIt actually challenges knowledge of syntax
  14. 14. Sentence TransformationSentence Transformation John is a doctor (Is John a doctor?)John is a doctor (Is John a doctor?)  More than one option may be possibleMore than one option may be possible  It may be too mechanical. Add elementsIt may be too mechanical. Add elements to make them realistic.to make them realistic.  It is limited in the provision of contextIt is limited in the provision of context  Few aspects might be assessed (passive,Few aspects might be assessed (passive, reported, comparatives, conditionals…)reported, comparatives, conditionals…)
  15. 15. Correction/EditingCorrection/Editing John usually working from Monday to FridayJohn usually working from Monday to Friday  Tests recognition of mistakesTests recognition of mistakes  Can also test production throughCan also test production through correctionscorrections  More than one correction may be possibleMore than one correction may be possible  Mistakes must be grammatically possibleMistakes must be grammatically possible  Backwash may be negativeBackwash may be negative  Context is essentialContext is essential
  16. 16. Five characteristics to measureFive characteristics to measure communicativecommunicative grammargrammar 1.1. The test must provide more context than only aThe test must provide more context than only a single sentence.single sentence. 2.2. The test taker should understand what theThe test taker should understand what the communicative purpose of the task is.communicative purpose of the task is. 3.3. S/He should also know who the intendedS/He should also know who the intended audience is.audience is. 4.4. Items should promote a focus on meaning andItems should promote a focus on meaning and not just form to answer correctly.not just form to answer correctly. 5.5. Recognition is not sufficient. The test takerRecognition is not sufficient. The test taker must be ablemust be able ““to produce grammatical responsesto produce grammatical responses ” adequate to the communicative situation given- (R.” adequate to the communicative situation given- (R. Dickins)Dickins)
  17. 17. Therefore…Therefore…  Have the test taker say or writeHave the test taker say or write something of discourse length insomething of discourse length in order to perform someorder to perform some communicative task for a knowncommunicative task for a known audience.audience.  What is said or written must makeWhat is said or written must make sense.sense.
  18. 18.  Sample activitiesSample activities
  19. 19. Split SentencesSplit Sentences  Write out some sentences, and thenWrite out some sentences, and then cut each sentence in half. Place thecut each sentence in half. Place the two halves in two separate columnstwo halves in two separate columns and ask students to find theand ask students to find the matching half.matching half.  StudentsStudents’’ abilities in combingabilities in combing sentencessentences  Grammar knowledge to all forms ofGrammar knowledge to all forms of the sentencesthe sentences
  20. 20. ExamplesExamples  If you eat thatIf you eat that  If you touch theIf you touch the dogdog  If you steal myIf you steal my boyfriendboyfriend  If you go out nowIf you go out now  If you donIf you don’’t leavet leave  If you donIf you don’’t bookt book a ticketa ticket  youyou’’ll be sickll be sick  itit’’ll bite youll bite you  II’’ll never speakll never speak to you againto you again  youyou’’ll get soakedll get soaked  II’’ll call the policell call the police  youyou’’ll be luckyll be lucky to get a seatto get a seat
  21. 21. Sentences from picturesSentences from pictures  Hand out a sheet of pictures. AskHand out a sheet of pictures. Ask students to come out sentences fromstudents to come out sentences from the pictures or ask them to tell athe pictures or ask them to tell a story.story.  Enough grammar knowledge to makeEnough grammar knowledge to make sentences by students.sentences by students.  AccuracyAccuracy
  22. 22. Memory TestMemory Test  Give limited time for students to seeGive limited time for students to see the picture. Ask them to describethe picture. Ask them to describe the picture without seeing it.the picture without seeing it.  Testing studentsTesting students’’ ability of makingability of making sentences.(enough grammarsentences.(enough grammar knowledge)knowledge)  AccuracyAccuracy  The transformation of studentsThe transformation of students’’ sentencessentences
  23. 23. Picture DictationPicture Dictation  A student try to describe the pictureA student try to describe the picture to other students who havento other students who haven’’t seent seen it.it.  Testing if a student can makeTesting if a student can make sentences which can help him/hersentences which can help him/her communicate well.communicate well.  AccuracyAccuracy
  24. 24. Strip StoryStrip Story  Give students a text from a stripGive students a text from a strip story. Ask them to find the orderstory. Ask them to find the order and resolve the problem from theand resolve the problem from the story.story.  See if students can find the timeSee if students can find the time order from the tenses of theorder from the tenses of the sentences.sentences.  AccuracyAccuracy
  25. 25. Miming an actionMiming an action  Ask students to role play in a limitedAsk students to role play in a limited situation.situation.  Through acting, it can test studentsThrough acting, it can test students’’ ability of thinking of lines. (whichability of thinking of lines. (which may contains different tenses.)may contains different tenses.)  AccuracyAccuracy
  26. 26. Growing StoriesGrowing Stories  Story-building activitiesStory-building activities  StudentsStudents’’ ability of making sentencesability of making sentences with different tenseswith different tenses
  27. 27. QuestionnairesQuestionnaires  Turn what have taught in class into aTurn what have taught in class into a questionnaire. Get students toquestionnaire. Get students to survey each other. (does not containsurvey each other. (does not contain fully-written-out questions.)fully-written-out questions.)  It can see if studentsIt can see if students’’ totallytotally understand what they have learnedunderstand what they have learned in class. Also it can show if studentsin class. Also it can show if students’’ can use it well.can use it well.

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