,
 

Types of tests used in English Language Teaching Bachelor Paper


Both of the tests involve the four skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing. The difference could be found in the sequence of them, for example if CFC test will start with reading first, TOEFL test will deal with listening. The types of tasks and activities implied in the test differ as well. We will start our analysis with reading part.


Reading Comprehension Part

 

CFC reading paper will test the students ability to read in a variety of ways: reading for gist (understanding of the text), reading for details, understanding how a text is organized and deducing the meaning from the context. (Typically, the students could be given four parts to fill) (Prodromou, 1998:8). For that purpose CFC reading paper will offer the students multiple matching. The students will have to match headings or summary sentences to the parts of the text. They will have to show their ability to grasp the overall meaning of the text involving various kinds of knowledge such as morphological, semantic and syntactical one. For example:


Meet the Flinstones, a modern Stone Age family. From the town of Bedrock, heres a bit about their history.

1.              Somewhere in the world, every hour of every day, The Flinstones is being broadcast. An incredible 300 million fans tune in to watch it regularly. Whether you like them or not, Fred, Wilma and their neighbours are impossible to avoid.

A) Rocky jokes B) A Stone Age family in skins C) A new idea D) A popular show, etc.

Prodromou, First Certificate Star, 1998

Thus, basing on the theory we have discussed in the first part of our paper, we can claim that it is integrative type of test, though being direct, that denotes testing one particular skill directly, but not through other language skills.

Afterwards, CFC may offer the students multiple choice, gapped texts and again multiple matching only connected with information. In multiple-choice activity the students will have to answer four-option multiple-choice questions about a text. For example:


Mad Cow Disease is a deadly illness of the brain and it is the non-technical term for BSE or Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis. This so difficult to say that journalists and even some doctors prefer the more vivid Mad Cow Disease

1.       We use the expression Mad Cow Disease because

A)      it is more accurate.

B)      It is easier to say.

C)     It links cows with people.

D)     It sounds less scientific.

Prodromou, First Certificate Star, 1998

It is obvious that only one answer will be the right one, but the others will be distractors that will try to confuse the reader. It will limit the students and make them use a variety of reading strategies, knowledge of vocabulary and syntaxes to discover the right variant. However, the students will not have an opportunity to support their choices and prove why the answer they have chosen is the exact one. Moreover, the students will be checked whether they understand the general meaning of the text, its details, whether they can infer the meaning from the text and understand references (who refers who). Thus, we can declare that this type of test is integrative, for it involves the students abilities to apply various reading strategies and still direct, for it tests just reading skills.

The same could be said about gapped texts that will check the students knowledge of reading strategies, such as organization of the text, reading for gist, etc. (examples available in Appendix p.17) To complete it the students will have to show their knowledge of the certain areas of the language. Multiple matching will require the students to match pieces of information either with a certain text divided into fragments or with several texts joined together with one topic (examples available in Appendix p.8).

CFC will display various types of texts in order to see how well the students can cope with any authentic material when dealing with reading. They will have to show their capability of dealing with advertisements, letters, stories, travelling brochures, guides, manuals, and magazine and newspaper articles. The type of test applicable here will be integrative, including a variety of strategies and direct checking the students reading skills.

TOEFL tests reading part usually involves the students general comprehension of a text. It is regularly a text followed by a number of questions about it typically in the form of multiple choice items format. However, this part of the test requires the students to show their skills in reading for gist, the students have to define the main idea of a text; afterwards, the students will have to display their knowledge of the vocabulary, especially synonyms, ability to infer the meaning, define the words and apply their skills connected with working with references, i.e.:


.The biggest disadvantage was that the sound and pictures could become unsynchronised if, for example, the gramophone needle jumped or if the speed of the projector changed. This system was only effective for a single song or dialogue sequence..

47. The word sequence in line 14 is closest in meaning to

A)      interpretation

B)     progression

C)    distribution

D)    organization

Gear, Cambridge preparation for the TOEFL test, 1996

The students will be offered to read several passages, usually historical, scientific, medical, etc. facts. They will intend to check the students ability to understand specific types of tests taken from specific fields, the skill required at the universities, whereas CFC will offer the students the texts they can encounter in their everyday life being abroad. Each text will be typically accompanied with seven questions.

TOEFL test will chiefly use multiple-choice items; there will be no gap filling or matching implied. Thus, we can call a reading part of TOEFL test as a direct, for it tests the students reading skills, and more discrete point tests than integrative, for it is mainly concerned with checking the students knowledge of vocabulary (examples available in Appendix p.391-396).

The above mentioned could be stated as the first difference: TOEFL test is a discreet point test, while CFC is integrative one.

Another difference between CFC and TOEFL reading part could be a variety of tasks given to test the students reading skills. CFC will mostly offer a great range of tasks (headings, summary, fragmented texts) and texts types, while TOEFL will not vary a lot.

Listening Part

 

The listening part of CFC test aims to test the students ability to listen and understand the gist, the main points, and specific information is to deduce meaning. TOEFL test will check whether the students are able to understand conversations and talks in English.

CFC test will offer the students a variety of activities in order to check whether the students can imply effective listening strategies to comprehend the message. It suggests the idea of the test being integrative, for it will focus on different means that could be used to deal with a listening task. For example, CFC offers multiple choices as a task (examples available in Appendix p.37): the students listen to several short extracts that are taken from different contexts. They could be dialogues or monologues as well. The answer sheet will display the three answer items from which the students will have to choose the correct one. The task could ask the students to guess who the speaker is, where the action takes place, what the conversation is about and even it can include the question about the feelings and emotions of speakers that could be guessed from the contexts.

Afterwards, there will be another task note taking or blank filling that will check the students ability to listen for gist and for details. This type will demand the students capability to use his/her writing skills to put down information they will hear. They will have to be able to pick up the necessary information and retain it in their memory in order to fulfil the task (examples available in Appendix p.87).

Subsequently, a further task could engage multiple matching where the students will have to concentrate on a particular kind of information. This task could be displayed in the form of a dialogue or a monologue. The students will be given several answers with letters that should be inserted into the right box. However, there will always be one option that does not suit any question, the so-called distractor. Moreover, asking the students to complete a grid, i.e. advantages and disadvantages of anything, could expand the task, i.e. advantages and disadvantages of keeping a certain pet:


 

Advantages

Disadvantages

dog

 

 

cat

 

 

fish

 

 

Prodromou, First Certificate Star, 1998


Moreover, the listening task could involve True/false activities where the students will have to listen to a dialogue or a monologue and react to it (examples available in Appendix). The students will have to display how well they have comprehended the message ticking the statements whether they are true or false. In spite of that, Yes/No questions could take place. We have been discussing them already in our theoretical part and mentioned that the so-called open-ended questions allow the students support their answers. Answering them, the students are having a chance to prove why they have chosen a certain answer, but not the other. Usually, if the students are aware of such a possibility, they fill more secure and motivated, for they can be certain that the examiner will be able to realize the students point. However, it is not a very appropriate type for such a test as CFC, for checking such tests will be rather time-consuming.

Listening part of the TOEFL test differs a lot from that of CFC, for it is fully based on the multiple-choice items that focus mainly on the understanding of the main idea of a message (examples available in Appendix p.379-384) The participants are exposed to a set of short dialogues that are accompanied with four answers, where three are usually distractors and the rest one is correct, i.e.:

(man) I think, Ill have the curtains changed.

(woman) They are a bit worn.

(narrator) What does the woman mean?

(A)   She thinks every bit of change is important.

(B)   She wants to wear them.

(C)   She thinks theyve been worn enough.

(D)   She thinks theyre in bad condition.

Gear, Cambridge preparation for the TOEFL test, 1996

The test implies the idea that to do it the students have to use a variety of listening strategies, but it is not directly aimed at it. Whereas, the listening part of CFC test is structured so that the students would be able to display their listening skills and strategies, that are so useful for them to comprehend the real message in the real-life situation dealing with a native speaker.

Thus, we can distinguish certain similarities and differences, which we can encounter comparing them. They are both direct aiming at checking one exact skill; however, CFC is integrative, but TOEFL is discreet point test. Moreover, the test formats differ as well. CFC is richer in activities, than TOEFL test, which offer the students just multiple-choice items test.

The author of the paper presumes that CFC listening part is more testee-friendly, while TOEFL listening part is more reserved and does not allow the students fill free, but alarmed.


Writing Part


Writing part of CFC test tests the students ability to write different types of writing texts. These could be transactional letters, simple letters, compositions, descriptions, reports, etc. Moreover, the students could be asked to write an opinion composition and even an article (examples available in Appendix p.38).

Transactional letters are aimed at making somebody do something. Writing them, the students have to keep in mind that they are supposed to get a relevant answer.

There are different types of transactional letters, such as a letter of complaint, a letter of invitation, a letter asking for information and a letter describing something. The task requiring the students ability to write these letters will supply the students with necessary information, may be even pictures, and usually will ask for the students personal opinion. Moreover, the students have to be aware of the style that should be used depending on the requirements. Furthermore, the students will have to know how the letters are structured, for it will be the factor that will be evaluated as well.

Another writing task such as writing articles for a magazine will require the students to display their writing abilities, the knowledge of the vocabulary, the style and letter organization knowledge (examples available in Appendix 38).

Writing a report will be based on the students capability to gather facts and analyse them. It could involve a kind of a research work and knowledge how to express and link the ideas together (examples available in Appendix 30).

Writing a narrative story will ask the creativity from the students to make it interesting and original. Again the students will have to be able to express and link their ideas to produce a meaningful text.

Opinion composition will involve the students abilities to state advantages and disadvantages of the topic being discussed, expressing own opinion, stating the problem and possible solutions of it and expansion on the topic analysing various aspects of a topic.

Another writing task could be a book review. The students will have to know how to plan and organize the review, giving brief information about an author and some essential details about a book. Moreover, personal opinion of the students will be required as well.

Thus, looking at the facts stated above we can declare that the writing part of CFC is purely integrative type of test, for it involves all possible written tasks and strategies that should be used to accomplish the tasks effectively. Furthermore, it will be a direct testing aimed at testing the students writing skills. The tasks and activities presented in this part of CFC reflect the students needs they may meet in a real-life situation, for every possible writing piece is given.

The writing part of TOEFL test will generally involve essay writing. There will not be any letters or book reviews. The students will be given a topic that is typically a statement and they will have to expand it and write about it giving the facts, ideas and sometimes even a personal opinion, i.e.: If the earth to be saved from environmental catastrophe, we shall all have to make major changes in our lifestyles (Gear, Cambridge preparation for the TOEFL test, 1996). This type of writing will focus on expressing ideas and their linking as well. To write a good essay the students will require the knowledge of the topic, or schemata, the knowledge of a relevant vocabulary, appropriate style and organization of the written text, i.e. thesis sentence, paragraphs, etc (examples available in Appendix p. 377 378).

Therefore, we can conclude that the writing part of TOEFL test could be called also an integrative type of test involving the range of strategies. Moreover, it could be defined as direct testing, for it implies testing exactly the writing skill. Furthermore, it is totally based on the knowledge how to organize an essay with all necessary paragraphs, introductions and conclusions.


Use of English or Structure and Written Expressions


An import role in both tests is occupied by use of English or as it is called in TOEFL Structure and Written Expressions part. It aims at testing the students knowledge of grammar and vocabulary used in the English language.

CFC offers the students a range of various activities and task to be done during the testing time. They are multiple choice cloze, open cloze, key word transformations, error correction and word formation. Whereas, the usual procedure of the same part in TOEFL test will mostly include multiple-choice cloze and error correction.

The multiple choice cloze in CFC will usually be in the form of a gapped text followed by fifteen multiple questions with four options, as always the only one will be the correct. It will mostly be concerned with vocabulary items or grammar issues (examples available in Appendix p.44). For example:

Robin Williams was creative and gifted from an early age. He was a/an (1)_______________child and at school was always a (2)_____________pupil: he wrestled, ran cross-country and worked (3)_____________at his studies.

1. A imaginary B imaginative C fantastic D mythical

2. A classic B model C superior D spoilt

3. A quickly B easily C hard D fast

Prodromou, First Certificate Star, 1998

Open cloze will mostly be presented in the form of a text with several spaces, which the students will have to complete with an appropriate word. It will imply the students knowledge of grammar and vocabulary and will involve the students ability to predict and guess from the context (examples available in Appendix p.94). The task will be rather complicated, for it will not be a C-test type where the words to be inserted preserve the initial letter or letters to make the guessing process easier. In our case the students will have to know how the words and phrases are connected together, how the sentences are linked, and they will have to know the grammar forms and structures, so, for example, if they see have/has, they should immediately know that Present perfect is used. For example:


When you join the International Bird Society, your membership (1)_____________ make a positive difference to birds everywhere even if the only ones you see are the blue tits..

Prodromou, First Certificate Star, 1998

Key word transformations will make the students alter the sentences structures, however preserving the entire meaning of them. They will have to complete a sentence with a given word; here the vocabulary and grammar will be of major interest again (examples available in Appendix p.86). The usual change will occur with phrasal verbs, active and passive voice, verbs and prepositions that go together, etc.:

1. I didnt like the story and I didnt like the actors. neither

I ______________________the actors.

Prodromou, First Certificate Star, 1998

Error correction will implement the students knowledge of grammar structures. The students will receive a passage in which they will have to find incorrect item and highlight it (examples available in Appendix p.55). Such types of activities will usually include an extra or unnecessary word. These words could be relative pronouns, prepositions, articles, conjunctions, etc. For example:


________ If you want to find out about someones personality, one way of to do it is to

________take a sample of their handwriting and analyse it; this is called by

________graphology. To do graphology properly, it is important to use fairly typical..

Prodromou, First Certificate Star, 1998

Word formation will based on completing a text by making an appropriate word form from a word stem given, i.e. discover discovery (examples available in Appendix p.104). This part will focus mainly on vocabulary, especially on word formation rules. Here the knowledge of suffixes and prefixes will be essential for the students. For example:


Who is mad? Cows or farmers?

Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis is a (1)___________ brain DEAD

Disorder found amongst cows. As this medical term is almost

(2) _________for the majority of ordinary people to say, the illness POSSIBLE

is (3)________known as Mad Cow Disease. POPULAR

Prodromou, First Certificate Star, 1998

Concerning TOEFL test, we might say that it is similar to CFC use of English; however, it displays just several types of tasks. As we have already mentioned they are error correction and multiple choice cloze. Multiple choice cloze typically consists of a range of statements in which there will be a certain grammar structure missing. It is usually based on grammar, than on vocabulary (examples available in Appendix p. 385 386). The students will have to know how the subject and predicate go together, how the words and sentence parts are linked with each other. For example:


1.       --------infinitely large number of undiscovered galaxies.

(A)   An

(B)   There are an

(C)   From an

(D)   Since there are

Gear, Cambridge preparation for the TOEFL test, 1996


Error correction will differ from that in CFC, for in TOEFL test we will have a statement with the underlined words that are supposed to be wrong. The students will have to choose the correct variant (examples available in Appendix p. 387 390). It will usually be based on the students knowledge of grammar items and word formation as well. For example:


Drying food by means of solar energy is ancient process applied wherever food and climate conditions

A B C D

make it possible.

Gear, Cambridge preparation for the TOEFL test, 1996

In conclusion we can state that Use of English is both discreet and integrative type of testing, for in some tasks of CFC the knowledge of word formation is demanded, but in some grammar will be included either.

The Use of English of CFC and TOEFL will be a direct testing, for it will test the students grammar and vocabulary knowledge.


Speaking


Speaking is another part of the test that is present in CFC and is not included into TOEFL test. It could be explained by the fact that if the student passes TOEFL test successfully, s/he will be interviewed directly at the place s/he needed the test for.

Therefore, will briefly look at CFC speaking part and discuss it. It aims at the students ability to use spoken language effectively in different types of interaction. The students could be asked to give personal information, talk about pictures and photographs, be involved in pair work task or even in discussion.

In personal information part the students could be asked to supply the personal details about themselves: i.e. their job, family position, studies, etc.( examples available in Appendix 10 11).

In describing pictures or photographs they will have to share their opinion about them speaking with an examiner. There will be a time limit set for the talk.

In pair work task and discussion the students will be supplied either by pictures or photos or by charts and diagrams. They will be joined in pairs and will have to carry out the task together. It could be either the solving the problem, planning something, putting something in order or discussing a certain topic. Discussion will certainly require the students personal opinion and analysis of a topic (examples available in Appendix 63).

In CFC the students will have to cooperate with another interlocutor: either the examiner or another participant.

The author of the paper assume that this part is both integrative and indirect testing. It is integrative, for it will involve the students knowledge of the whole aspects of the language: grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, listening skills and may be even reading skills if the task will be written. To communicate successfully the students will require listening and comprehending the other speakers message to respond. Grammar should be accurate to produce a good and correct dialogue or a monologue, for accuracy is an important factor there. The rich word stock will be inevitable element as well.

Indirect testing means that the whole material will be included while testing speaking skills.

To conclude we can declare that CFC and TOEFL tests are both integrative and discreet point tests. They are also direct, however, speaking part in CFC could be defined as indirect one involving all four skills to be used.

















Conclusions


The present research attempted to investigate the essence of two types of tests, such as TOEFL and CFC tests. The research has achieved the initially set goals and objectives. It dealt with the basic data about testing, where the author had displayed the ideas what was the essence of tests, why the students should be tested, what consequences could tests produce and whom they would mostly influence. Afterwards, the reasons for testing were discussed, where the author of the paper had gradually showed why tests were significant in the process of learning and the role of testing in the teaching process. After the basic data had been discussed, the author came directly to types of testing. At that point the author of the research made an attempt to review various sources on the topic she was able to find. She had presented the definitions of the types of tests offered in Longman dictionary of LTAL and then had compared them with the definitions given by various authors. Later, the author of the research displayed the ways of their applications and reasons for that. She had also presented several examples of tests types in the Appendix. The author of the paper had also discussed ways of testing, such as discrete point test and integrative test, objective and subjective tests, direct and indirect tests, etc. The attention was drawn to the significance of their usage and the purpose for it. Furthermore, the discussion had changed the focus on another important issue, such as tests formats and approaches for testing four language skills. Here the author had broadly and explicitly discussed and analysed the tests formats, such as MCQs, false/true items, cloze tests, gap-filling tests, etc. She had focused on their application and skills for which they are used. Moreover, she had displayed various examples to exemplify each test format, offering several of them in Appendix of the paper. Likewise, a table with the language skills and test formats applicable for them was attached to the work as well. Further, a practical part in the form of the tests analysis was presented.

The author of the paper had also dealt with the main issues that are very vital and essential in analysis of the tests. She had focused on the reliability and validity of the tests and tried to trace them in TOEFL and CFC tests. She had thoroughly discussed the tasks and activities composing the tests designed to test the students language skills. Moreover, she had attempted to compare the two tests and find out any similarities and differences between them. She had methodically studied each part of the tests, starting from reading skills finishing with speaking. She had presented a detailed investigation into the matter together with the examples that could be observed in Appendix, as well.

Eventually, she had gained her aim having checked the theory into practice and had proved that it really functioned in the real world. Moreover, she had revealed that though being sometimes different in their purpose, design and structure, the TOEFL test and CFC test are constructed according to the universally accepted pattern.

Thus, the hypothesis of the present research has been confirmed.






























Theses


1.      The role of tests is very useful and important, especially in language learning, for they indicates how much the learners have learnt during a course, as well as display the strength and weaknesses of the teaching process and help the teacher improve it.


2.      The tests can facilitate the students acquisition process and function as a tool to increase their motivation; however, too much of testing could be disastrous changing entirely the students attitude towards learning the language, especially if the results are usually dissatisfying.


3.      Assessment and evaluation are important aspects for the teacher and the students and should be correlated in order to make evaluation and assessment go hand in hand.


4.      The test should be valid and reliable. They should test what was taught, taking the learners individual pace into account. Moreover, the instructions of the test should be unambiguous.


5.      Validity deals with what is tested and degree to which a test measures what is supposed to measure.


6.      Reliability shows that the tests results will be similar and will not change if one and the same test will be given on various days.


7.      There are four traditional categories or types of tests: proficiency tests measuring how much of a language a person knows or has learnt; achievement tests measuring a language someone has learned during a specific course, study or program; diagnostic tests displaying the knowledge of the students or lack of it, and placement tests placing the students at an appropriate level in a programme or a course.


8.      There are two important aspect direct and indirect testing. Direct testing means the involvement of a skill that is supposed to be tested, whereas indirect testing tests the usage of the language in real-life situation and is assumed to be more effective.


9.      Discrete point test is a language test that is meant to test a particular language item, whereas the integrative test intends to check several language skills and language components together or simultaneously.


10.  There are various tests formats, such as multiple-choice tasks, gap-filling tests, cloze tests, true/false statements, etc. used to check four language skills.


11.  To enter any foreign university the students are supposed to take the TOEFL or CFC tests. Besides, they can be taken to reveal the students level of the English language.


12.  Serving for almost similar purpose, however being sometimes different in their design and structure, the TOEFL and CFC tests are usually constructed according to the accepted universal pattern.



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