Home Forums iTDi TESOL Certificate 5.3.2.11 Testing receptive skills

5.3.2.11 Testing receptive skills

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    • #8880

      communityadmin
      Keymaster

       

      As we have seen in this lesson, there are some definite challenges for teachers when testing receptive skills.

      Here are five potential problems:

      1. It can take time to select a suitable text or audio clip.
      2. If you have mixed abilities in your class, tests can be too easy or too difficult.
      3. Testing listening is difficult in conditions where the acoustics of the room are not good.
      4. Learners can guess the answers and yet still pass the test.
      5. It is difficult to set a fair time limit for a reading task because some learners work more quickly than others.

      Write your solutions for each and post as a reply below. Comment on other teachers’ ideas.

       

    • #8952

      Rhett Burton
      Participant

      As we have seen in this lesson, there are some definite challenges for teachers when testing receptive skills.

      Here are five potential problems:
       It can take time to select a suitable text or audio clip.
      Review something that you have completed but adapt the text to the new context. This strategy will both review and expand on the students’ knowledge and ability to use language within the context. 

       If you have mixed abilities in your class, tests can be too easy or too difficult.
      You can choose open-ended ways to test the students’ abilities. An open-ended question can work within a controlled as well as a free-speaking medium. Bonus points if you can make it naturally interesting.

       Testing listening is difficult in conditions where the acoustics of the room are not good.
      A simple solution could be to read out the test. This way, you know the audio equipment won’t reduce the quality of the sound required for success. I’d like to add that we can add objects to the room to absorb/redirect sound. I don’t like echoes.

       Learners can guess the answers and yet still pass the test.
      This is a common challenge with a test. You’ll need to consider how different task types will allow for a better understanding of the students’ abilities. I would try to use a variety of questions, including multiple-choice, gap fills, short answer, more extended written activities, and verbal interactions. These, however, might be impossible within the testing constraints. 

       It is difficult to set a fair time limit for a reading task because some learners work more quickly than others.
      I might consider what your aims (desired results) are. If we aim to help each student achieve to the best of their ability, then I would consider using graded texts. If the aim is to see if students can achieve a certain level of fluency and accuracy at a certain level, then I would maintain all test parameters for all students. 

      • #13855

        scott gray
        Participant

        Think we are on the same page with most of these. I am just curious if you think that all students must pass or get a certain score on a test. I am fine especially with young learners in that if it is to build confidence then there is not an ‘easy’ test.

         

      • #13865

        Rhett Burton
        Participant

        I am looking for intervention systems. If students do not complete the task that is required, then they can return to it a skills area to master it. I am looking into multi-level content so that they students can work through all content at a level they feel comfortable at.

         

      • #13880

        scott gray
        Participant

        Sounds good. I am just curious, do the students know enough for what would be a completed task? Or do they need you to decide if they have done the task or not?

         

    • #8961

      Barbara Bujtás
      Participant

      1 Re-write a familiar text (record it yourself).
      2 Give bonus challenge exercises to high-achievers.
      3 Find another room, change the seating arrangement so that students can get closer to the speakers, do the test in more rounds, with as many students as it is convenient each round.
      4 Add more question types, if possible.
      5 Give bonus challenge exercises to high-achievers again, use a dislexia-friendly font and layout.

    • #11664

      Masatoshi Shoji
      Participant

      1.It can take time to select a suitable text or audio clip.
      I will search resources on internet as I’m not a native speaker.

      2.If you have mixed abilities in your class, tests can be too easy or too difficult.
      The test can be made gradually challenging. However, to a certain extent, it is ideal that all students can answer easily. After that, there might be variance. Bonus points can be given as in the others’ comments.

      3.Testing listening is difficult in conditions where the acoustics of the room are not good.
      Try to use a smartphone and earphone.

      4.Learners can guess the answers and yet still pass the test.
      It would be good if there is a wide variety types of questions, multiple choice, true/false, fill-in the gaps, etc. so that easiness can be avoided.

      5.It is difficult to set a fair time limit for a reading task because some learners work more quickly than others.
      Bonus points can be given to such a student.

      • #11704

        Good idea to find suitable texts/clips from reliable sources on the internet. What websites do you find most helpful? For listening, I like the variety offered by English Listening Lesson Library Online (elllo.org) for example.

        I like your idea of using a variety of question types, which can also be used to make the test increasingly challenging. For example, starting with T/F or Y/N questions, then matching tasks, multiple choice, etc. For multiple choice tests, I think it’s important to have at least 4 answer choices and enough questions to avoid passing just from guessing.

    • #11665

      Masatoshi Shoji
      Participant

      Adding more questions types can be very effective.

    • #13854

      scott gray
      Participant

      Here are five potential problems:

      It can take time to select a suitable text or audio clip.

      I can say that I have not had this problem for quite a while thanks to sites like breakingnewsenglish, englishinlevels, eslvideos.com, or apps like English Central. If I did, as I have in the past I would just use a good student or fellow teacher to perform a skit before the students.

      If you have mixed abilities in your class, tests can be too easy or too difficult.

       

      I would tend to write some questions that have more open ended room for lots of expansion by the student. For in class quizzes than oral tests where I can choose or adjust the level on the fly enables me to do it easily.

      Testing listening is difficult in conditions where the acoustics of the room are not good.

      Here thanks to ipads, phones, and modern technology kids mostly have their own headphones or the school has extra to lend so it does not become a problem. In worst case thinking, then making it a performance where they can repeat the test till they are satisfied with their performance is a possibility for some classes.

      Learners can guess the answers and yet still pass the test.

      Here up to the teacher to design a test for the students at a base level. However, that being said, Giving a variety of forms they have to answer in with more open-ended questions where more personal answers are needed would take care a lot of this.

      It is difficult to set a fair time limit for a reading task because some learners work more quickly than others.

      I can’t recall having had this problem. I think as the teacher of the class when making the test you should have a good idea before this happens. But again questions where they have to provide more personal information or chances to expand with their experience and they can get bonus points for more information would take care of this.

       

      • #13860

        Thoughtful answers and it’s noteworthy how the increasing availability and access to technology has solved a number of issues. One more useful development worth highlighting, that has also been mentioned during the course, has been the ability to select the playback speed on Youtube (from 0.25 to 1.5 x normal speed).

    • #13866

      Rhett Burton
      Participant

      1. It can take time to select a suitable text or audio clip.

      H5P, a content creating platforms, has a building in recording system. It took me minutes to record my voice and upload it to my site. Knowledge of this system has allowed me to included more listening tasks in my work.

      2. If you have mixed abilities in your class, tests can be too easy or too difficult.

      I always have mixed levels. I can raise or lower the bar based on personalized expectations. This year I have played with self-assessed ranking of content. The students rate their ability to complete the task. I observe their ability to use English doing the task.

      3. Testing listening is difficult in conditions where the acoustics of the room are not good.

      I have had to put up curtains and bookcases. There are lots of little quick fixes that improve acoustics.

      4. Learners can guess the answers and yet still pass the test.

      look for ways to improve how you observe and monitored your students. I am not too strong at the documentation aspect of journalling and portfolio building.

       

      5. It is difficult to set a fair time limit for a reading task because some learners work more quickly than others.

      You can give lots of practice tests so that the students know how to complete the tasks. When students are familiar with the task type, they can focus all their energy on the content and required information.

       

      • #13869
        1. Indeed, sometimes it is quicker and more effective to make our own recordings!
        2. To an extent, all classes are mixed abilities which I know you recognise, too, Rhett. Students rating their ability to complete a task also helps us to gauge their self-confidence, etc.
        3. Good ideas. A friend added a reading corner with beanbags and cushions to his classroom.
        4. This is good to be aware of, especially with multiple choice questions which generally need 4 options and enough questions to avoid a small yet significant percentage being able to pass by guessing.
        5. Important point to keep in mind regarding task/test familiarity!
    • #13924

      Jessica Sohn
      Participant

      Here are five potential problems:

      1. It can take time to select a suitable text or audio clip.
      I’ve haven’t had any kind of problem like this. I normally had great test resources ready for use. But, sometimes I think using own recordings can be more helpful.

      2. If you have mixed abilities in your class, tests can be too easy or too difficult.
      Yes, most of my classes have mixed abilities. We keep track of the kids’ daily records too. (HW completion, participation etc) and then after the tests, make any additional adjustments for the struggling kids. And, if it’s too easy for some kids, we would see and push them to the next level or something.

      3. Testing listening is difficult in conditions where the acoustics of the room are not good.
      This, too. I haven’t had any issues so far. All the system is up to date and the rooms too, are all set. But with pandemic situations, I feel testing itself can be challenging. And of course, testing listening can be most challenging due to different internet connection status. Those who have connection, echo issues at home come in and we lend them headphones which reduce the problems.

      4. Learners can guess the answers and yet still pass the test.
      I would then try to use a lot of class time to double check and monitor the students. And give more various questions on tests so it’s not all guessing questions.

      5. It is difficult to set a fair time limit for a reading task because some learners work more quickly than others.
      Practice tests can really be helpful and train slow working learners. I feel they can gain confidence and feel more comfortable on the real tests/tasks. I would even practice similar tasks in class but just take multi approaches so they can enjoy it.

      • #13929

        Good, thoughtful answers, Jessica.

        Incidentally, how do you usually keep track of your YLs? I noticed you using Class Dojo for your online class in TDV12, for example. Even when I used Class Dojo in its early days (2011-2012), I found it quite helpful and most of my students responded quite positively to it, too.

        What kinds of information do you find it important to keep track of and evaluate? And what has helped you to make administration more efficient as well as effective?

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