Cloze Procedure as a Variety of Pragmatic Language Testing

Topics: Linguistics, Language, Pragmatics Pages: 70 (27209 words) Published: May 25, 2012

1. Discrete and Integrative Tests

Tests have come to be an accepted component of instructional programs throughout the world. The main reasons for testing are: a) to measure individual progress;
b) to assess the degree of success of teaching and learning and to identify areas of weakness and difficulty; c) to measure students probable performance;
d) to sort new students into teaching groups so that they are approximately the same level as others when they start. Tests are powerful educational tools that serve at least four functions. First, tests help you weight up students and assess whether they are learning what you are expecting them to learn. Second, well-designed tests serve to motivate and help students structure their academic efforts. Crooks, McKeachie, and Wergin report that students study in ways that reflect how they think they will be tested. If they expect an exam focused on facts, they will memorize details; if they expect a test that will require problem solving or integrating knowledge, they will work toward understanding and applying information. Third, tests can help you understand how successfully you are presenting the material. Finally, tests can reinforce learning by providing students with indicators of what topics or skills they have not yet mastered and should concentrate on [1, p.5]. Despite these benefits, testing is also emotionally charged and anxiety producing. Before writing a test it is vital to think about what it is you want to test and what its purpose is. First of all it would be useful to define some terms used in language testing. Language tests have been divided into four categories based on their use: a) language aptitude tests are used to predict probable success or failure in certain kinds of language study. In other word this kind of testing predicts how a student will perform on a course. b) language achievement tests are used to determine how effective teaching has been, or how much of what has been taught and learned. c) diagnostic tests point out areas in which a student requires additional concentrated teaching and study. To put it more simply such tests highlight the strong and weak points that a learner may have in a particular area. d) language proficiency tests indicate whether or not an individual is proficient enough in a language to perform certain tasks or undertake certain training programs in the target language. In that case a proficiency test is one that measures a candidate's overall ability in a language [2, p. 27]. John B. Carroll (1961) has divided proficiency tests into two types: a) discrete- point tests.

b) integrative tests [3, p. 31].
He first proposed the distinction between discrete point and integrative language tests. Though these two are not always different for practical purposes there are two basic differences. a) the theoretical bases of the two approaches contrast markedly; b) predictions concerning the effects and relative validity of the two procedures differ. Discrete tests take language skills apart and attempt to test the knowledge of language one bit at a time. Each test item is aimed at one and only one element of a particular component of a grammar, such as phonology, syntax, or vocabulary. The basic tenet of the discrete-point approach involved each point of language being tested separately. That is to say discrete point tests touch on those areas that linguists include in linguistic competence: vocabulary knowledge, recognition of correct grammatical structure, sound discrimination, etc. – in other words, the mechanics of language [4, p. 20]. We can declare that discrete point test is a common test used by the teachers in our schools. Having studied a grammar topic or new vocabulary, having practiced it a great deal, the teacher basically gives a test based on the covered material. This test...
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