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Testing writing

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Power Point based on the article "Testing for language teachers" (Arthur Hughes), pages 83 to 112 (Chapter 9: Testing writing). This work is done by Idoia Argudo and Marta Ribas, in a subject from Universidad de Cantabria.

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Testing writing

  1. 1. Testing writing Idoia Argudo Martinez Marta Ribas Mayans
  2. 2. How to test people’s writing? Get them to write Test the ability directly • Tasks properly representative • Tasks that represent students’ ability • Scored validly and reliably
  3. 3. Representative task: specify all posible content Be clear • Operation: describe, explain and compare. • Types of text: examination answers up to two paragraphs in length. • Addresses of text: native speaker and non-native speakers university lecturers. • Topics: academic treatment, not specialist. • Dialect and style: any standard variety of English. Formal style. • Length of the text: about 1 page. Example:
  4. 4. Representative task: include a representative sample Set a task where the students can prove their truly ability. The more tasks, the more representative. Wide range of representative specifications → backwash effect.
  5. 5. Example: From Cambridge Certificates in Communicative Skills in English (CCSE) May/June 2000 Level 1
  6. 6. The more tasks we set the more representative/valid of a candidate’s ability we will obtain Spend too much time
  7. 7. Representative task: include a representative sample If the test is used to Place students in classrooms Not so important accuracy Determine if they are allowed to study overseas More than one sample is needed Topics should be familiar to the students.
  8. 8. Elicit a valid sample: set as many separate tasks as possible Desirable Practical Offer as many fresh starts as possible Achieve greater reliability and validity
  9. 9. Elicit a valid sample: test only writing ability Creative, imaginative, intelligent, wide general knowledge, good reasons for the opinions they hold… Test ONLY writing ability For the sake of validity:
  10. 10. Elicit a valid sample: test only writing ability To not infere with Reading ability, we should use simple instructions or illustrations. Candidates should know what is required from them. Tasks as authentic as possible.
  11. 11. Examples
  12. 12. Ensure valid and reliable scoring Set tasks which can be reliably scored Set as many tasks as possible Restrict candidates Give no choice tasks Ensure long enough samples Create appropiate scales for scoring
  13. 13. Ensure valid and reliable scoring Holistic scoring Analytic scoring Single score of a writing (overall impression of it) Separate score for each aspect Assess student work as a whole Assess the components of a finish product Fast to correct Slow to correct General test Diagnostic information Small, well-knit group Heterogeneous, less well trained group Example: TOEFL Used generally in schools
  14. 14. Feedback Linguistic features Structure Style Feedback
  15. 15. Conclusion • If the test includes a wide ranging and representative sample of specifications, the test is more likely to have a beneficial washback effect. • A test that required the student to write 4 answers could cover the whole range of tasks. • Chose the topics that students are familiar with. • Provide the precise information and arguments. • Adapt the writing to the students level.
  16. 16. Thank you for your attention.

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