Testing Grammar


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Testing Grammar

  1. 1. Testing Grammar<br />Jonathan Magdalena<br />
  2. 2. What are we trying to MEASURE?<br />“English grammar is chiefly a system of <br /> syntax that decides <br /> the order and <br /> patternsin which <br /> words are arranged<br /> into sentences.”(Close, 1982)<br />
  3. 3. Why should we test grammar?<br />Linguisticor communicative competence?<br />Structures or functions?<br />Usage or use?<br />Prescriptive or descriptive?<br />
  4. 4. Howshould we test grammar?<br />Separated from skills?<br />Discrete point or integrative items?<br />Focus on grammar or meaning?<br />
  5. 5. What are the most common test formats for testing grammar?<br />RECOGNITION<br />Multiple choice items (Liu, 121)<br />Error-recognition items (Liu, 129)<br />True/False (Baxter, 35) <br />Pairing and matching items<br />Cloze/Modified Cloze (Hughes, 144)<br />
  6. 6. What are the most common test formats for testing grammar?<br />Production<br />Completion items (Hughes, 143) <br />Transformation items (Liu, 131)<br />Paraphrase (Hughes, 143)<br />Rearrangement<br />Editing<br />Combination and addition items<br />Items involving the changing of words<br />
  7. 7. When should we go for grammarrecognition?<br />When…<br />More material needs to be covered. <br />You want to test different levels of learning. <br />You have little time for scoring. <br />You are not interested in evaluating how well a test taker can formulate a correct answer. <br />You have a large number of test takers. <br />
  8. 8. When should we go for grammarproduction?<br />When…<br />You want to evaluate a person’s ability to formulate a correct answer. <br />You have more time to score the items<br />You want to test a persons ability to apply concepts and information to a new situation. <br />You have a clear idea of the aspects and concepts that should be tested. <br />
  9. 9. True/False<br />Is this sentences true or false?<br />“He works from Monday to Friday”<br />Does not demonstrate broader knowledge <br />Difficult to construct in higher levels  <br />Encourages guessing due to 50/50 chance <br />Difficult to test attitudes toward learning <br />
  10. 10. Multiple Choice<br />John usually ______from Monday to Friday<br />a. works b. worked c. has worked d. is working <br />They can be tricky or too picky   <br />Difficult to test attitudes towards learning <br />Knowledge is limited to options provided <br />Difficult to construct at higher levels <br />Encourages guessing (25% chance) <br />More than one option may be possible<br />All options must be grammatically possible<br />
  11. 11. Gap-Filling<br />John usually ______(work) from Monday to Friday<br />They must be part of a broader context   <br />More than one option may be possible<br />First gap may be offered as a sample<br />Difficult to test attitudes towards learning <br />Knowledge is limited to options provided <br />Limitations result in negative backwash<br />Focus should be on the aspect assessed.<br />
  12. 12. Cloze/C-test<br />John is new in town. He moved here for two reasons. First, ______ found a job in a food company ______ is established here; secondly, he desperately wanted ______ be closer to his girlfriend, Susan Sommers, ______ recently moved to our neighboring town.<br />Tests student’s understanding of the whole language   <br />More than one option may be possible<br />First letter may be offered as a sample<br />Some words may be impossible to guess <br />Can test student’s IQ rather than language proficiency<br />
  13. 13. Sentence Building<br />Friday/usually/to/John/Monday/work<br />Tests recognition and/or production  <br />More than one option may be possible<br />Capital letters and punctuation may interfere in the production of the answer<br />It gives no context as reference to grammar use. <br />It actually challenges knowledge of syntax<br />
  14. 14. Sentence Transformation<br />John is a doctor (Is John a doctor?)<br />More than one option may be possible<br />It may be too mechanical. Add elements to make them realistic.<br />It is limited in the provision of context <br />Few aspects might be assessed (passive, reported, comparatives, conditionals…)<br />
  15. 15. Correction/Editing<br />John usually working from Monday to Friday<br />Tests recognition of mistakes<br />Can also test production through corrections<br />More than one correction may be possible<br />Mistakes must be grammatically possible <br />Backwash may be negative <br />Context is essential<br />
  16. 16. Five characteristics to measure communicativegrammar<br />The test must provide more context than only a single sentence.<br />The test taker should understand what the communicative purpose of the task is.<br />S/He should also know who the intended audience is.<br />Items should promote a focus on meaning and not just form to answer correctly.<br />Recognition is not sufficient. The test taker must be able “to produce grammatical responses ” adequate to the communicative situation given- (R. Dickins)<br />
  17. 17. Therefore…<br />Have the test taker say or write something of discourse length in order to perform some communicative task for a known audience.<br />What is said or written must make sense.<br />
  18. 18. Sampleactivities<br />
  19. 19. Split Sentences<br />Write out some sentences, and then cut each sentence in half. Place the two halves in two separate columns and ask students to find the matching half. <br />Students’ abilities in combing sentences<br />Grammar knowledge to all forms of the sentences<br />
  20. 20. Examples<br />If you eat that<br />If you touch the dog<br />If you steal my boyfriend<br />If you go out now<br />If you don’t leave<br />If you don’t book a ticket<br />you’ll be sick<br />it’ll bite you<br />I’ll never speak to you again<br />you’ll get soaked<br />I’ll call the police<br />you’ll be lucky to get a seat<br />
  21. 21. Sentences from pictures<br />Hand out a sheet of pictures. Ask students to come out sentences from the pictures or ask them to tell a story.<br />Enough grammar knowledge to make sentences by students. <br />Accuracy<br />
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  23. 23. Memory Test<br />Give limited time for students to see the picture. Ask them to describe the picture without seeing it. <br />Testing students’ ability of making sentences.(enough grammar knowledge)<br />Accuracy<br />The transformation of students’ sentences<br />
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  25. 25. Picture Dictation<br />A student try to describe the picture to other students who haven’t seen it.<br />Testing if a student can make sentences which can help him/her communicate well.<br />Accuracy<br />
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  27. 27. Strip Story<br />Give students a text from a strip story. Ask them to find the order and resolve the problem from the story.<br />See if students can find the time order from the tenses of the sentences.<br />Accuracy<br />
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  29. 29. Miming an action<br />Ask students to role play in a limited situation.<br />Through acting, it can test students’ ability of thinking of lines. (which may contains different tenses.)<br />Accuracy<br />
  30. 30. Growing Stories<br />Story-building activities<br />Students’ ability of making sentences with different tenses<br />
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  32. 32. Questionnaires<br />Turn what have taught in class into a questionnaire. Get students to survey each other. (does not contain fully-written-out questions.)<br />It can see if students’ totally understand what they have learned in class. Also it can show if students’ can use it well.<br />