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Testing grammar

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Applied Linguistics

Publicada em: Educação, Tecnologia
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Testing grammar

  1. 1. Submitted to: Ma’m Sabahat Mushtaq Submitted by: Shazia Ijaz M.Phil Applied Linguistics
  2. 2.  “English grammar is chiefly a system of syntax, that decides the order and patterns in which words are arranged into sentences.” (Close, 1982)  Crystal (1995) says it is "... that branch of the description of language which accounts for the way in which words are combined to form sentences.”
  3. 3.  Language Testing is the practice and study of evaluating the proficiency of an individual in using a particular language effectively.  Language testing is a field of study under the umbrella of applied linguistics.  Its main focus is the assessment of first, second or other language in the school, college, or university context; assessment of language use in the workplace; and assessment of language in the immigration, citizenship, and asylum contexts.  The assessment may include listening, speaking, reading, writing, an integration of two or more of these skills, or other constructs of language ability. Equal weight may be placed on knowledge (understanding how the language works theoretically) and proficiency (ability to use the language practically), or greater weight may be given to one aspect or the other.
  4. 4.  Well made tests of English can help students in two ways.  First of all such tests can help create positive attitudes towards the class.  A second way that English tests can benefit students is by helping them master the language.  For teachers tests can be used to diagnose their own efforts as well as of students.  Tests can provide insights into the ways that teachers can improve the evaluation process.
  5. 5.  Grammar tests are designed to measure student proficiency in matters ranging from inflections (bottle-bottles, bake-baked) to syntax.  Syntax involves the relationship of words in a sentence, including matters such as word order, use of negative, question forms, and connectives.
  6. 6.  There was a time when controlling of grammatical structures was seen as the very core of language ability and it was unthinkable not to test it.  Now whether or not grammar has an important place in an institution’s teaching, it has to be accepted that grammatical ability, or rather the lack of it, sets limits to what can be achieved in the way of skills performance.  The successful writing of academic assignments, for example, must depend to some extent on the command of elementary grammatical structures.  The diagnostic tests of grammar are very useful for the individual and the group.
  7. 7.  For achievement tests where teaching objectives or the syllabus list the grammatical structures to be taught, specification of content should be quite straightforward.  When there is not such listing it becomes necessary to infer from textbooks and other teaching materials what structures are being taught.  Specifications for a placement test will normally include all of the structures identified in this way.
  8. 8.  This will reflect an attempt to give the test content validity by selecting widely from the structures specified.  It should take account of what are regarded for one reason or another as the most important structures.  It should not deliberately concentrate on the structures that happen to be easiest to test.
  9. 9.  Whatever techniques are chosen for testing grammar, it is important for the text of the item to be written in grammatically correct and natural language.
  10. 10.  Ideally gap filling items should have just one correct response.  For example: What was most disturbing………. that for the first time in his life Ali was on his way. (was)  He arrived late, ……… was a surprise. (which)  The council must do something to improve transport in the city. ………. they will lose the next election. (Otherwise)
  11. 11.  An item with two possible correct responses can be used. For example:  He displayed the wide, bright smile …….. had charmed so many people before. (which, that)  In this case one item is to be rejected.  There can be use of more than two items for filling the sentence. For example:  Dr:………. let her cry. She’ll stop in the end. (just, I’d, well, then, etc.)  This technique can be used to test a variety of structures.
  12. 12.  Paraphrase items require the students to write a sentence equivalent in meaning to one that is given.  It is helpful to give part of the paraphrase in order to restrict the students to the grammatical structure being tested.
  13. 13.  For example: Testing passive, past continuous form.  When we arrived, a policeman was questioning the bank clerk.  When we arrived, the bank clerk………………..
  14. 14.  This technique can be used to test a variety of structures.  Simple completion items used for testing grammar consist of a sentence from which a grammatical element is removed. As  He went ……… school.  There are three steps to follow in preparing simple-completion grammar tests. 1. Select the grammar points that need to be tested. 2. Provide an appropriate context. 3. Write good instructions.
  15. 15.  The easiest simple completion items are like multiple choice questions with two options. As  Directions: Complete the following sentences with “do” and ”make”. 1. He …….. a lot of money. 2. I always ………. my best.
  16. 16.  Testing the mastery of inflections provides for a productive response. These vary from simple comparatives to verb tense questions.  He is the ………. (tall) person in the class.  Another technique is to use a separate blank for each word in the verb phrase.  He ….. ….. …… (sleep) for nearly an hour.
  17. 17.  It illustrates how common terminology can be used occasionally.  Example: Add a question tag to these sentences:  Hamlet was indecisive, ……………..?  Polonius knew a lot of aphorisms, …………?  Directions: Write in the missing part of the two word verb.  What time did he get …… this morning?  Example of free response with a minimum amount of contextual control:  You would get better sooner if ……….. .
  18. 18.  In this test an incomplete sentence is followed by four multiple choice options for completing the sentence. For example:  While she ……… the house, her children were playing outside.  A. has been cleaning *B. cleaned C. has cleaned D. was cleaning  He has lived in this town for only a week and he already has ………. Friends.  A. few B. a few C. not many D. the few
  19. 19.  It is an efficient way to test grammar but teachers should follow specific procedure in its preparation.  1. Choose the grammar points that they need to test.  Choosing grammar points to test is usually easy. It can be chosen from the structures the teacher has taught since the last test.
  20. 20.  2. Prepare the right kind of sentence context for the grammar structure.  A good context is very important. For example: 1.They left at seven. They ….. be home by now. 2.They left at seven. They ….. be home by now. Yes, but we can’t count on it, can we?  A. can B. could C. will D. must
  21. 21.  3. Select three logical distractors.  A. These are the incorrect options which we put with the correct word or phrase to complete the sentence.  ……. the ones who know the answers.  A. They are B. There C. They’re D. Their  It is a poor test as it is just a spelling item.  Teachers should avoid such distractions that sound alike.  B. Another source of distractors is errors on composition. This is done by students mostly on exercises or cloze passages.  Test should be like this:  Several years ago I ……. English.  A. studied B. study C. have studied D. will study
  22. 22.  C. Unnecessary material confuse the students so it should not be added in the tests.  For example:  If I had a new fur coat, ……… .  Its options should be  A. I showed B. I’d show C. I’ve shown D. I’ll show  4. Prepare clear, simple instructions.  All the instructions for solving the questions should be clear.
  23. 23.  Cloze tests are prose passages, usually a paragraph or more in length, from which words have been deleted.  The students rely on the context in order to supply the missing words.  It is easy to prepare and easy to score.  The cloze is simply a story or essay from which a number of words have been deleted.  In this test, the overall meaning and surrounding grammar help to replace the missing parts.  Sentence-completion vocabulary and grammar items are similar in a way to cloze tests.  Cloze passages simply have much larger contexts.
  24. 24.  Gap filling and multiple choice items are easy to score.  The important thing when scoring other types of item is to be clear about what each item is testing, and to reward points for that only.  There should be one element, such as subject- pronoun-verb inversion, and all available points should be awarded for that.  If two elements are being tested in an item, then points should be assigned to each of them.  In this case both elements have to be correct for any points to be rewarded.
  25. 25.  Hughes A. (2003). Testing for language teachers(2nd ed). Cambridge :Cambridge University Press  Harold S. Madsen (1983). Techniques in testing. New York: Oxford University Press.