Aptitude Tests - LAB • Paul Pimpleur developed Language Aptitude Battery in 1960s with 6 subtests • Grade-Point Average in academic areas other than foreign languages. • Interest in learning a foreign language • Vocabulary test on the knowledge of native-language vocabulary • Language Analysis test of ability to identify the function of language elements in a foreign language for which the equivalents in the native language is given. • Sound Discrimination learners aurally learns three similar words in sounds and are expected to recognize them. • Sound-Symbol learners recognize the graphic form of the nonsense words they hear when they were given them in sentences. • These tests are useful for the purposes of prediction and diagnosis. • They do not tell us who will succeed or fail in learning a foreign language.
Proficiency and Achievement Tests Proficiency Tests • Tests may be devised the proficiency level of the students • They may be used for placement into an appropriate classes high schools. • Teachers take such courses to demonstrate certain levels of proficiency in the four skills before they are permitted to teach. • Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers proficiency tests such as SAT, TOEFL, or GRE. Achievement Tests • Usually based on available course of study and students expect to be tested on what they are supposed to have been learning. • They may be faulty testing instruments • Standardized Achievement Tests are constructed by organizations outside schools. • Such tests enable teachers to see how their students compare with those of other teachers.
Diagnostic Tests • Designed to indicate to teacher and students areas of strength and areas of weakness. • Results of such tests show what sections of the work should be retaught or restudied. • Clearly indicates to the teacher whether the students are ready to move on to new work. • Most useful if corrected thoroughly. • It should be regarded as a natural step in the learning process. • Well-designed tests are also a guide to the teacher, revealing areas in which the teaching has not been effective. • Example – GED test
Norm-Referenced and Criterion-Referenced Tests • Norm-Referenced tests rank the achievement of students in relation to that of other students. • Norm stands for mean score achieved by the group. • The results usually show the percentile level each student has reached. • If the level is low, teacher decides whether re-teaching is needed. • Criterion-referenced tests serve a different purpose. • These tests are used for courses where students must all demonstrate a certain level of mastery. • There is no attempt at comparisons with the achievement of others. • In this testing, students know in advance exactly what knowledge they will be required to demonstrate. Ex. Russian – Cyrillic, Arabic – Arabic writing system.
Know What You are Testing • One important concept in testing is that of validity. • A valid test measures the intension that designer hopes to test. • Language learning involves skill getting and skill using. • Students need knowledge of many small details and facility in activating this knowledge. • Also need to be able to perform in the language with a certain fluency and coherence.
Discrete-Point and Integrative Testing • Discrete-point testing is a test intended to measure the knowledge on the details of a language such as grammatical structures, word order, phonetic sounds, vocabulary and spelling. • Helps to focus students’ attention on specific points. • Integrative Test requires that test-taker pay less attention on specific points than to the total communicative effect. • It must involve functioning of language – meaningful discourse evolving message. • The response requires the use of several skills. • It is sometimes called overall language proficiency tests • Discrete-point tests test skill getting whereas integrative tests test skill using. • Difference between these two tests should be clear.
Objectives of the Course • Course objectives must be clear to the teacher before devising a test. • Teacher identifies the skills needed to perform the kinds of language tasks after identifying the objectives. • Then, teacher goes ahead and select the types of tests appropriate for the level of students. • This way teacher validly tests students’ ability to perform
Dictation • Teachers often assume that students will need to be able to understand the spoken language. • Dictation can test the recognition of grammatical structures and of the elements of the vocabulary. • It also involves the ability to write the language accurately and correctly. • Requires ability to adjust to different kinds of voices, levels of language, speed of speech and dialectical variations. • It is a demanding test. • It can be a test of temperament. Nervous and anxious students often suffer emotional blocks. • Materials for dictation must be selected with great care. • Dictation as a placement test is easy to administer and has mechanical nature in correction.
Reading Comprehension • Often tested by asking the student to translate a passage from the foreign language into the native language. • It is possible for students to understand the passage very well and yet do very badly on a test like this. • It is a valid test if you would like to test the comprehension of the foreign language, stylistic differences and cultural contrasts. • The grading of such a test is to some extent subjective, since the “perfect translation” exists only in the mind of the narrator. • It is a suitable test for advanced classes, where translation is studied. • A common test of reading comprehension requires the answering in the foreign language questions in foreign language. • More validly tested by selection of the correct answer in multiple-choice questions. • No other skill has to be demonstrated at the same time.
Listening Comprehension • Tested by means of printed questions in the foreign language to be answered in the foreign language. • Students may understand perfectly but misinterpret it and get no credit. • Teachers looks for three skills in this type of test – comprehension of spoken language, comprehension of the printed word and ability to express oneself. • If the students are to be tested for listening comprehension alone, the credit must be given to the comprehension of what students heard. • Listening comprehension may be tested with the use of pictures and objects.