Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Functions or Purposes of Test

DISCUSSION Defining the purpose and the function of the test in one of the crucial thing that have to be prepared well in order to get the maximum result of the learning process. In connection with the formulation, as a means of evaluating learning outcomes, the test has at least two functions, namely: • To measure the level of mastery of a set of materials or level of achievement against a set of specific objectives. • To determine the position or the students in the group, about mastery or achievement of specific learning objectives. The first function is more focused to measure the success of learning programs, and second is more focused to measure the success of each individual test taker. Test Types The first task we face in designing a test for our students is to determine the purpose for the test. Defining our purpose will help us choose the right kind of test and it will also help you to focus on the specific objectives of the test. Two types to create as a classroom teacher–language aptitude tests and language proficiency tests, and three types that you will almost certainly need to create-placement test, diagnostic tests, and achievement tests. Language Aptitude Tests and Its Function This test is designed to measure capacity or general ability to learn a foreign language and ultimate success in that undertaking. Language aptitude tests are ostensibly designed to apply to the classroom learning of any language.Task in the modern language aptitude test. a. Number learning: Examinees must learn a set of numbers through aural input and then discriminate different combination of those numbers. b. Phonetic script: Examinees must team a set of correspondences between speech sounds and phonetic symbols. c. Spelling dues: Examinees must need words that are spelled some what phonetically d. Word in sentence Examinees are given a key word in a sentence and are then asked to select a word in second sentence that performs the same grammatical action as the key word. e. Paired associates: Examinees must quickly team a set of vocabulary words from another language and memorize their English meaning. Attempting to measure langague aptitude more often provide learners with information about their preferred styles and potential strengths and weakness, with follow up staretegies for capitalizing on the strength and overcoming the weakness. Proficiency Tests and Its Function A proficiency test is not limited to any one course, curriculum, or single skill in the language, rather, is tests overall ability. Proficiency tests have traditionally consisted of standardized multiple. Choice items on grammar vocabulary, reading comprehension and aural comprehension. Sometimes writing is also added. Proficiency test are almost always summative and norm-referenced. For example test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL) produced by the educational testing service. Proficiency tests are designed to measure people’s ability in a language regardless of any training they may have had in that language. The content of a proficiency test is based on a specification of what candidates have to be able to do in the language in order to be considered proficient. Proficient means having sufficient command of the language for a particular purpose. There are other proficiency tests which do not have an occupation or course of study in mind. For instance, Cambridge examinations and the Oxford EFL examinations, the function of these tests is to show whether candidates have reached a certain standard with respect to certain specified abilities. Though there is no particular purpose in mind for the language, these general proficiency tests should have detailed specifications saying just what it is that successful candidates will have demonstrated that they can do. All users of a test can then judge whether the test is suitable for them, and can interpret test results. Brown (2003:43-47) proposes three functions of proficiency test as follows: 1. To determine the readiness of a learning program. It commonly has a single cut-off point: ‘pass’ or ‘fail.’ 2. To classify individuals in appropriate language classes. It is used to distinguish the degrees of proficiency of which results are then used as a basis for selecting the treatments for the learners. 3. To diagnose the students’ strengths and weaknesses. The result of this test will provide a performance profile. Placement Tests and Its Function These tests are intended to provide information which will help to place students at the stage of the teaching program most appropriate to their abilities. Typically they are used to assign students to classes at different levels. The placement tests which are most successful are those constructed for particular situations. They depend on the identification of the key features at different levels of teaching in the institution. Certain proficiency tests can act in the role of placement tests, the purpose of which is to place a student into a particular level or section of language curriculum or school. Placement tests come in many varieties; Assessing comprehension and production, responding through written and oral performance, ended and limited responses, selection (multiple-choice) and gap-filling formats, depending on the nature of a program and its needs. Diagnostic Tests and Its Function A diagnostic tests is designed to diagnose specified aspects of a language. A test in pronunciation, for example. Might diagnose the phonological features of English that are difficult for learners and should therefore become part of a curriculum. There is also a fine line of difference between a diagnostic test and a general achievement test. Achievement test analyze the extent to which students have acquired language features that have already been taught, diagnostic tests should elicit information on what students need to work on in the future. In a curriculum that has a form – focused phase, for example, a diagnostic test might offer information about a learner’s acquisition of verb tense, modal auxiliaries, definite articles, relative clause and the like. Diagnostic tests are used to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses. They are intended primarily to ascertain what further teaching is necessary. By this, teachers can be fairly confident of their ability to create tests that will tell them that a student is particularly weak in a certain subject. Achievement Tests and Its Function This is test is related directly to classroom lessons, units, or even a total curriculum achievement tests are (or should be) limited to particular material addressed in curriculum within a particular time frame and are offered a course has focused on the objectives in question. Achievement tests are directly related to language courses, their purpose being to establish how successful individual students, groups of students, or the courses themselves have been in achieving objectives. There are two kinds of achievement tests: final achievement test and progress achievement test. • Final achievement tests are those administered at the end of a course of study. They may be written and administered by ministries of education, official examining boards, or by members of teaching institutions. The content of these tests must be related to the courses with which they are concerned, and should be based directly on a detailed course syllabus or on the books and other materials used. This has been referred to as the ‘syllabus-content approach’. The disadvantage of this approach is that if the syllabus is badly designed, or the books and other materials are badly chosen, then the results of a test can be very misleading. The alternative approach is to base the test content directly on the objectives of the course. The advantages of this approach are it compels course designers to be explicit about objectives; it makes it possible for performance on the test to show just how far students have achieved those objectives; it will provide more accurate information about individual and group achievement, and it is likely to promote a more beneficial backwash effect on teaching. • Progress achievement tests are intended to measure the progress that students are making. Since progress is towards the achievement of course objectives, these tests too should relate to objectives. One way of measuring progress would be repeatedly to administer final achievement tests, the increasing scores indicating the progress made. In short, Brown (2003:43-47) illustrates two functions of achievement test as follows: 1. Measure the extent of student achievement of the learning competencies. 2. Evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. The achievement test is also used to assess the degree of success of the teaching and learning process. Achievement tests are often summative because they are administered at the end of a unit or term of study. The specifications for an achievement test should be determined by: a) The objectives of the lesson, unit, or course being assessed b) The relative importance (or weight) assigned to each objective c) The tasks employed in classroom lessons during the unit of time. Achievement tests range from five or ten-minute quizzes to three hour final examinations, with an almost in finite variety of item types and formats. Here is the outline for a midterm examination offered at the high intermediate level of an intensive English program in the US: Midterm examination outline, high-intermediate Section A Vocabulary - Part 1 (5 items) : Match words and definitions - Part 2 (5 items) : Use the words in a sentence Section B Grammar - (10 sentences) : Error detection (Underline or circle the error) Section C Reading Comprehension - (2 one paragraph passage) : Four short – answer items for each section D Writing - Respond to a two-paragraph article on Native American culture

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