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Methods of Assessment

answer - 13. What is (a) objective and (b) subjective testing?

From the point of view of marking, the objective test has only one correct answer per item, yet the subjective test may result in a range of possible answers, some of which are more acceptable than others.

Note: It is not really the tests that are objective, but the systems by which they are marked.


answer - 14. What are the main subjective testing techniques? Discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

Global quality sealing: putting in rank order after a quick scan - too clumsy for more than 20 students.

Nine Pile System refinement: approximately the same numbers in each pile.

Assessment in categories (e.g. vocabulary, grammar, content, form) 5 marks to each; total mark out of 20: probably the commonest way of marking essays. Disadvantage: practice needed to apply the system reliably; reliability between markers may vary.

Also for continuous written work, marker can count off sections of e.g. 8 words and see what can be given credit: sequence of correct words, vocabulary, verb forms, idioms. Needs clearly defined credit points. Useful for marking e.g. letters.

Division of answer into sense groups: marking system can be based on communication and correctness as two separate criteria. System can only work with a series of points made or questions answered and NOT with a continuous narrative or description.


answer - 15. What are the main objective testing techniques? Discuss the pros and cons.

In all these tests, a list of KEYS gives the only correct answers

With exceptions of FACE and PREDICTIVE, the types of validity outlined above are all ultimately circular in spite of the existence of many esoteric statistical techniques for assessing validity in these terms.

If our assumptions about the nature of language and language learning are called into question, tests that are perfectly valid in terms of these assumptions, must themselves be called into question.

For example, a test that perfectly satisfies criteria of CONTENT, CONSTRUCT & CONCURRENT validity may nonetheless fail to show in any interesting way how well a candidate performs in a target language.

If CONSTRUCT of LL theory and the CONTENT of a syllabus are themselves not related to this aim or if the test is validated against other language tests which do not concern themselves with this objective I.e. communicative competence/Performance of X.

Validity exists only in terms of specified criteria. If the criteria turn out to be the wrong ones, then validity claimed in terms of them turns out to be spurious.

The CONTENT VALIDITY of a test is assured by the accuracy of the specification. In reviewing results, if results are the same as before, or as intended or reasonable in the circumstances for which the test is designed, the test can be counted as satisfactory.

PRAGMATIC VALIDITY: to achieve this, correlate test scores with the scores or ratings obtained from a criterion measure. By definition, anything which serves as a criterion is taken to possess validity.


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