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Types of testing

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Whatever purpose a test has, a major factor in its success or failure as a good measuring instrument will be determinate by the item types that it contains.

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Direct and indirect test items

A test item is direct If it asks candidates to perform the communicative skill which is being tested. Direct test items try to be as much like real-life language use as a possible.

Indirect test items, on the other hand, try to measure a students knowledge and ability by getting at what lies beneath their receptive and productive skills. Indirect items try to find out about a students language knowledge through more controlled items. These are often quicker to design and, crucially, easier to mark, and produce greater scorer reliability.

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Discrete-point testing only test one thing at the time.

Integrative testing expect students to use a variety of language at any one given time.

Like: asking students to choose the correct tense of a verb

Like: writing a composition or doing a conversational oral test.

Note: the combination gives a good overall picture of student ability

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There is a wide range of indirect test possibilities Multiple choice questions (MCQS): a traditional vocabulary multiple choice question looks like this: 1) Sara [ am / is / are ] a teacher

For many years MCQs were considered to be ideal test instruments for measuring students knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Above all this was because they were easy to mark, the answer book for these tests can be read by machines, not people, thereby cutting out the possibility of scorer error. There are a number of problems with the multiple choice questions, in the first place, they extremely difficult to write well, also there are distractors may actually put ideas into students heads that they read them.

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Cloze procedure seem to offer us the ideal indirect but integrative testing item. They can be prepared quickly. The procedure is random, it avoids test designer failings. It produces test items like this: They sat on a bench attached 1___ a picnic table. Below them they 2___ see the river gurgling between overgrown 3____ Cloze testings seems, on the face of it, like a perfect test instrument, since, because of the randomness of the deleted words, anything may be tested (e.g. grammar, collocation, fixed phases, reading comprehension), and therefore it becomes more integrative in its reach. Some are difficult to supply than others, and in some cases there are several possible answers.

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TRANSFORMATION AND PARAPHRASE A common test item asks candidates to rewrite sentences in a slightly different form, retaining the exact meaning of the original. For example, the following item tests the candidates knowledge of verb and clause patterns that are triggered by the use of I wish. I'm sorry that I didnt get her an anniversary present. I wish ____________________________
In order to complete the item successfully the student has to understand the first sentence.

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Getting students to put words in the right order to make appropriate sentences tells us quite a lot about their underlying knowledge of syntax and lexicogrammatical elements. The following example is typical.
Put the words in order to make correct sentences. Called/ I / Im / in / sorry / wasnt / when / you Re-ordering exercises are fairly easy to write, though it is not always possible to ensure only one correct order. There are many other indirect techniques too, including sentence fill-ins, choosing the correct tense of verbs in sentences and passages, finding errors in sentences, and choosing the correct form of a word.

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