Testing Vocabulary


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Testing Vocabulary

  1. 1. Testing Vocabulary<br />Jonathan Magdalena<br />
  2. 2. What are we trying to MEASURE?<br /> “A word is <br />a microcosm<br /> of <br /> human consciousness”<br /> (Vygotsky)<br />
  3. 3. What is vocabulary?<br />Language emerges first as words, both historically, and in terms of the way each of us learned our first and any subsequent languages. The coining of new words never stops. Nor does the acquisition of words. Even in our first language, we are continually learning new words, and learning new meanings for old words. <br />Can you think of an example?<br /> <br />
  4. 4. How many words can you find?<br /> I like looking for bits and pieces like old second-hand record players and doing them up to look like new.<br />andis repeated once; like three times<br />The first likeis a verb; the other two are prepositions <br />lookingand look: do they count as two different words or different forms of the same word? <br />second-hand: two words or just one? <br />What about record player?<br />And bits and pieces? Is this a self-contained unit or three separate words? <br />Are looking and looking for the same?<br />Doing up means renovate, but it is separated by the word them; is it one or two words then?<br />
  5. 5. What isaword then?<br />A word is a highly complex phenomenon.<br />Words have different functions. <br />The same word can have a variety of forms.<br />Words can be added to, or combined, to form new words.<br />Words can group together to form units that behave as if they were single words.<br />Many words commonly co-occur with other words.<br />Words may look and/or sound the same but have quite different meanings.<br />One word may have a variety of overlapping meanings.<br />Different words may share similar meanings, or may have opposite meanings.<br />Words can have the same or similar meanings but be used in different situations or for different effects<br />
  6. 6. What doesknow aword mean?<br />Knowing a word means:<br />having the ability to recognize it in its spoken and written forms<br />knowing its different meanings.<br />knowing its part of speech [eg. a noun, a verb]<br />being able to pronounce it properly<br />being able to use it correctly within a sentence in an appropriate grammatical form<br />for technical words, recognizing it in context<br />being able to recognize different types of English e.g boot/trunk, lift/elevator [British/American].<br />
  7. 7. How arewords learned?“Without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed.”<br />What makes you swerve your car?<br />The limo surges forward and starts to swerve wildly over the road.<br />The bus driver swerved to avoid hitting the cyclists<br />She is one of those rare politicians whom one can trust not to swerve from policy and principle.<br />Hitting the brakes would make the bikes swerve more.<br />The driver made no attempt to swerve out of their path<br />Nothing could swerve him<br />Last and surprisingly, for such a small town you can still get your swerve on with the nightlife.<br />He managed to pass the ball with a perfect body swerve.<br /> <br />
  8. 8. How arewords organized?The mind seems to store words neither randomly or in the form of a list, but in a highly organized and interconnected fashion — in what is often called the mental lexicon.<br />
  9. 9. Why should we test vocabulary?<br />Feedback<br />Backwash effect<br />Motivation<br />Recycling<br />
  10. 10. Howshould we test vocabulary?<br />Separated from skills?<br />Discrete point or integrative items?<br />Focus on lexis or contextualized meaning?<br />
  11. 11. What are the most common test formats for testing vocabulary?<br />Recognition<br />Multiple choice items (Liu, 121)<br />Error-recognition items (Liu, 129)<br />Pairing and matching items<br />Gap-filling items<br />Cloze/Modified Cloze (Hughes, 144)<br />Guessing meaning from context<br />
  12. 12. When should we go for vocabularyrecognition?<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 />
  13. 13. What are the most common test formats for testing vocabulary?<br />Production<br />Completion items (Hughes, 143) <br />Transformation items (Liu, 131)<br />Paraphrase (Hughes, 143)<br />Table completion<br />Combination and addition items<br />Items involving the changing of words<br />
  14. 14. When should we go for vocabularyproduction?<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 />
  15. 15. Test Formats<br />
  16. 16. Multiple Choice<br />The flight attendant asked the passengers to ______ attention to the safety demonstration.<br />a. give b. devote c. pay d. lend <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 />
  17. 17. Matching Word-Definition<br />Tangle means… <br />A type of dance<br />A tropical forest<br />A confused mass<br />A kind of fruit <br />They are not communicative   <br />Difficult to test attitudes towards learning <br />Words have diverse connotations<br />Encourages guessing (25% chance) <br />One word class at a time<br />
  18. 18. Single Selection<br /> Someone was (playing/singing) the tune and for a moment you were happy to go (along/away) with what seemed a reasonable idea.<br />They are authentic and communicative<br />Words are part of a broader context   <br />Knowledge is limited to options provided <br />Encourages guessing (50%)<br />Difficult to design but easy to mark<br />
  19. 19. Correction/Editing<br />Maria bought a skarf for the winter<br />Tests recognition of mistakes<br />Is focused on word spelling only<br />Mistakes are ungrammatical<br />Negative backwash <br />Context is important but not essential<br />
  20. 20. Guessing Meaning from Context<br /> Unlike the guitar, the fiddle has four strings on a fingerboard without frets.<br />Tests contextualized knowledge<br />Context is crucial<br />Communicative and authentic<br />Positive backwash <br />Difficult for some students (bias)<br />Tests various types of word relationships<br />
  21. 21. Gap-Filling<br /> The flight attendant asked the passengers to ______ attention to the safety demonstration.<br />They must have a broader context   <br />More than one option may be possible (unless tester provides limited options or first letter)<br />Tests can focus on content words<br />Production is tested unless options are provided <br />Focus should be on the aspect assessed<br />
  22. 22. Cloze<br />John ______ works ______Monday ______Friday<br />Tests student’s understanding of the whole language   <br />Many word types can be tested<br />Understanding of context is crucial<br />Difficult to test attitudes towards learning <br />Some words may be impossible to guess <br />Can test student’s IQ rather than language proficiency<br />Difficult for some students (bias)<br />
  23. 23. Table Completion<br />Complete the table with positive, negative and neutral adjectives<br />Tests language structure<br />Tests word-building   <br />Many word types can be tested<br />Not communicative at all<br />Tests use but not language usage<br />Difficult to test attitudes towards learning <br />
  24. 24. Word Transformation<br />Turn verbs into nouns:<br />The opera was conducted by the (compose)____<br />Not very communicative (without context)<br />Clues will limit the answers<br />Difficult to test attitudes towards learning<br />Some context may be added <br />Instructions are essential<br />Few aspects might be assessed (word classes, synonyms, antonyms…)<br />
  25. 25. Five characteristics to measure communicativevocabulary<br />The test must provide more context than only a single sentence.<br />The items must assess lexis within a limited number of semantic fields.<br />The test taker should understand what the communicative purpose of the task is.<br />He or she should also know who the intended audience is.<br />He or she must have to focus on meaning and not form to answer correctly.<br />Recognize is not sufficient. The test taker must be able “to produce grammatical responses.”<br />(R. Dickins)<br />
  26. 26. Evidence shows that semantically related items are 'stored together'. Items are arranged in a series of associative networks, a large 'master file', and a variety of 'peripheral access files' which contain information about spelling, phonology, syntax and meaning. <br />Knowing a word, then, is the sum total of all these connections — semantic, syntactic, phonological, orthographic, morphological, cognitive, cultural and autobiographical. It is unlikely, therefore, that any two speakers will 'know' a word in exactly the same way.<br />In Conclusion<br />