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Types of task/ item types

Types of task / Item types

In approaching the task of item writing, the writing needs to be clear about the following:

·        Why that particular item type has been selected for the text.

·        Which areas of the test taker’s ability are to be the focus of the items.


A test is composed of a number of tasks:

2-1. Texts:

Two issues concerning text will be discussed here: the question authenticity and the question of what makes a text difficult.

a)    Authenticity:

-         A much debated issue affecting choice of texts, for teaching as well as for testing is that of authenticity.

-         There are two levels: situational and interactional.

·        Situational authenticity may be defined as the degree to which the test method characteristics of a language task neflect the characteristics of a real life situation in which the language will be used.

·        Interactional authenticity:

This view of authenticity implies that test writers and developers should:

-         Make use of texts, situational contexts and tasks.

-         Attempt to use situations and tasks.

-         Make clear, in providing contexts, the purpose for carrying and a particular task, as well as make clear the intended audience.

-         Make clear the criterion for success in completing the task.

b)    Difficulty of texts:

Test writers and developers regularly have to deal with the concept of what constitues text difficulty.

-         Linguistic structure of the text.

-         The context in which the text is placed.

-         The content of a text.

-         The types of interaction and the relationship which it creates between text and reader or listener.

c)     The issue of difficulty in listening task:

·        Interaction of speakers:

-         A monologue is the easiest type of speech to follow, especially if the speakers seems to be addressing the listener directly.

-         Two contrasting voices are text easiest.

-         A conversation between two people of the same sex and age.

-         A conversation between speakers.

·        Time reference and context:

-         A text which involves changes of scene, changes of time reference and large number of events.

-         A text in which a clear context is established from the beginning is easier.

·        Language:

2-2: Item types:

·        A few general rules:

There are a few general rules to follow when constructing any kind of item:

-         Items should always attempt to test salient information.

-         Normal grammatical conventions should be followed.

-         When a new item type is used, an example should be provided.

-         With text-based items it must be necessary to read and understand the text.

-         Text-based items may be placed before oa after the text.

·        Selection items:

-         Three or four option multiple choice item. True/False and various kinds of matching items

·        Candidate _ supplied items:

-         Item types which demand that the candidate supplies the response: short answer items, open cloze items.

·        Testing speaking and writing:

-         Speaking skills and writing skills looked at on this level of discrete elements are sometimes assessed by means of item _based test.

2-2.1: Multiple choice and other selection item types:

a)    Multiple choice items:

·        Discrete point and text based multiple choice items.

-         Multiple choice item are very frequently used in tests of reading and listening.

·        What are the rules for writing discrete or text based multiple choice items ?

-         The item should measure one important point.

-         Items should not be interdependent, the answer to one item should not influence the answer to another.

-         To reduce the reading load.

-         Negative forms should be avoided as much as possible.

-         Verbal clues which direct the candidate to the conect option.

b)    True/False item:

-         The true/false item is one in which test takers hercee to make a choice as to the truth or otherwise of a statement normally in relation to a reading or listening text. The disadvantage of this type is that there is a simple “yes, no choice”.

c)     Gap-filling ( close passage) with multiple choice options:

  A close test is one in which words are deleted from a text, creating gaps:

-         Gap may be created mechanically, bye the deletion of every sixth or seventh word.

-         Certain types of words may be deleted at irregular intervals throughout the text.

d)    Gap-filling with selection from bank.

-         This is suitable for use in elementary level tests of reading.

e)     Gap-filling at paragraph level.

-         It consists of a text with six paragraph-length gaps. A choice of seven paragraph is given from which to fill the gap.

f)       Matching:

-         There are a number of variations of matching tasks.

-         This kind of task is used in test of reading.

g)     Multiple matching:

-         In a multiple matching exercise a number of questions or sentence completion items are set, which are generally based on a reading text. The responses are provided in the form of a bank of words or phrases, each of which can be used an unlimited number of times.

h)    Extra word error detection:

-         In the type of task, there is one extra, incorrect, word in most of the lines of a text. Candidates have to identify and write the word at the end of the line in the right-hand column.


2-2.2: Candidate-supplied response item types:

a)    Short answer item:

-         This item type consists of a question can be answered in one word or a short phrase.

b)    Sentence completion:

-         These items are used in tests of reading and listening.

c)     Open gap-filling ( close )

-         In an open close, the gaps are selected by the item writer.

d)    Transfromation:

-         This item type is used in tests of structual competence or writing at sentence level.

e)     Word formation:

-         It is used in test of structual competence or writing where there is a focus on testing knowledge of volcabulary

f)       Transfromation close:

-         It can be used in a continuous text, creating a task.

-         It consists of a text with a word missing in each line and a different grammatical form of the word required supplied.

-         This kind of itm can be used in tests of structual competence or writing at sentence level.

g)     Note expansion:

-         In this item type the lexical components of each sentence are supplied in a reduced form which resembles notes.

-         This tyoe if rask is most likely to appear in a test of structual competence or writing.

h)    Error correction/ proof reading:

-         This large type consists of a text in which a word appears in a incorrect form in each numbered line. The candidate has first to identify the incorrect word and then write it in its correct form at the end of the line.

i)       Information transfer:

-         Task described in this way always involve taking information given in certain form and presenting it in a different form. This item type texts skills involved in writing and structual competence.


_________ The end _________


                                  Writen by  Nguyen Thi My Le


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