Testing Reading Comprehension
The Nature Of The Reading Comprehension
At this stage in our examination of reading difficulties, it would be helpful to attempt to identify some of the specific skills involved in reading. Broadly speaking, these can be defined as the ability to;
Recognize words and word group, associating sounds with their corresponding graphic symbols;
Deduce the meaning of words bya. Understanding words formationb. Contextual clues
Understand the explicit stated information Understand relations within the sentence,
a. Elements of the sentence structureb. Negationc. Fronting and themed. Complex embedding
Understand relations between parts of a text trough both lexical devices, Grammatical cohesive devices especially anaphoric and cataphoric reference and connectives
Perceive temporal and spatial relationships, and also sequences of ideas;
Understand conceptual meaning, especiallya. Quantity and amountb. Definiteness and indefinitenessc. Comparison and degree
d. Means and instrumente. Cause, result, purpose, reason, condition, addition,
contrast, concession; Anticipate and predict what will come next in the text Identify the main idea and other salient features in a text Generalize and draw conclusions Understand information not explicitly stated by
a. Making inferencesb. Understanding figurative language
skim and scan read critically Adopt a flexible approach and vary reading strategies
according to the type of material being read and the purpose for which it is being read.
Initial Stages Of Reading: Matching Tests
The tests described in the first half of this section are concerned purely with word and sentence recognition. They test students’ ability to discriminate visually between words which are spelt in fairly similar ways.
There are three kind of test in matching test;-Word Matching- Sentence Matching- Picture and Sentence Matching
The testees are required to draw a line under the word which is the same as the word on the left.
Example;Sheep shop/shape/sleep/heap/sheep/soapTop stop/tap/top/ton/pot/Wonder wander/window/wonder/fonder/won
The testees are required to recognize as quickly as possible sentences which consist of the same words in the same order. They read a sentence, followed by four similar sentences, only one of which is exactly the same as the previous one.
Example;1. Tom is not going to your school
A. Tom is not going to your poolB. Tom is going to your schoolC. Tom is not going to your schoolD. Tom is not coming to your school
Picture and Sentence Matching
Type 1The testees are required to identify the correct picture
and look at four pictures and then read a sentence about one of the pictures.Example;Choose the correct picture below.1. She is cooking in the kitchen
This type is similar to the previous but is much more economical in that only one picture is required for each item. They have to select the correct sentence.
A. Sister bear is talking to the butterfly
B. Sister bear is watering the flowers
C. Sister bear is spreading the seeds
D. Sister bear is playing with the butterfly
This test has to select the appropriate sentences which match the picture.
Four of the following sentences agree with the picture. Put a circle round the letter of each of the four sentences below.
A. There are four trees in the garden.
B. The girl and the dog are sitting in the middle.
C. The girl is holding a glass.D. Mother is looking at
father.E. Father is eating lunch box.F. The girl is feeding the dog.G. Mother is reading a story
book.H. They are playing together.
Intermediate And Advantage Stage Of Reading; Matching Tests
The testees are required match the meaning of certain term in a dictionary with appropriate shapes which those terms denote. This particular item measures the ability of the testees to understand the kinds of definitions usually found in a dictionary – an essential skill required in learning and using a foreign language.
Example; ( please look at your book page 110 )
Type 2The following item type is included to provide
another example of how reading comprehension matching tests can be based on dictionary. Again, the item is intended for use at a fairly advanced level.
The following item is similar to the previous type but here testees are required to match appropriate words or information in the text with correct parts of a diagram.
Example; (please, look at your book page 111)
1. ………………………. 6. ………………………………2. ………………………. 7. ………………………………3. ………………………. 8. ………………………………4. ………………………. 9. ………………………………5. ………………………. 10. ………………………………
This test is used to measure the students’ ability in understanding a text.
Example; ( please, look at your book page 112-113 )
True / False Item
Multiple – Choice Items (A): Short Texts
These particular items, however, have been included here because it is felt that a comprehension of the text is generally of at least as much importance as an understanding of the meaning of the words for selection. The following three examples show the use of this item type at elementary, intermediate and advanced levels respectively.
1. The eyes are wonderful teachers – even musicians, who deal with sounds, learn as much by (doing, playing, watching, practicing) as by listening.
2. The housewife who could not afford to buy clothes would spend hours at her spinning wheel, spinning her wool into yarn – a job which took little skill but required a lot of (ability, patience, talent, wisdom) and was done by the fireside during the long winter evenings.
3. Two-thirds of the country’s (fuel, endeavour, industry, energy) comes from imported oil, while the remaining one-third comes from coal. Moreover, soon the country will have its first nuclear power station.
Type 2The testees are required to identify the correct
paraphrase of a statement from a choice of four of five. They are told in the rubric that the (four) statements may refer to the entire sentence or only part of the sentence.
Example; 1. In spite of the loud music, I soon managed to fall asleep.
A. The loud music soon helped me to fall asleep.B. I soon fell asleep as a result of the loud music.C. The loud music made me unable to fall asleep soon.D. I soon fell asleep even though the music was loud.
This item type consists of a very short reading extract of only a few sentences (or sometimes of only one sentence). The testees are required to answer only one comprehension test item on each reading passage.
What made Tim notice the man in the crowd?A. He was very close to Tim.B. The president was talking to him.C. He was standing in front of the woman.D. He was carrying a stick.
Example; The president was talking to a young woman in the
crowd when Tim suddenly caught sight of a man standing several yards behind her. The man had something in his hand: it was a short stick.
Multiple – Choice Items (B): Longer Texts
Types of completion items for testing reading comprehension are divided into two groups for ease of treatment: Type 1 consisting of blanks for completion in the items following the text; and type 2 consists of blanks in the text itself.
Type 1Unless carefully constructed, this type of completion test can
become merely a matching exercise in which the words and phrases required in the completion are determined after a process of matching the whole item with the appropriate part of the text.
Example; NEWRON THEATREFORTHCOMING ATTRACTIONS
Monday, 8 January for 2 weeks
MY FAT FRIENDCharles Laurence’s popular comedy
Wednesday, 24 January toSaturday, 27 January
Shanghai Festival BalletPresents
SWAN LAKEMonday, 29 January for one week
RUN AND KILLTim Danby’s thrilling mystery
1. The SHANGHAI Festival Ballet will perform on ………….evenings.
2. ……………….will be the most amusing play.3. If you like dancing, you should see ………………4. The play written by …………………is very exciting.
In this item type the testees are required to complete the blank spaces in a reading text. The blanks have been substituted for what the test writer considers are the most significant content words.
When we slide something along the floor, it will cause (1) ………..if something is very (2) ………, there will be a lot o friction between it and the ground. However, friction is (3) …….when something rolls instead of (4) ……… The invention of the (5) …………was really an attempt to reduce friction. Unless there is snow or ice, it is much harder to (6) ……….something on a box or sledge than in a cart. Ball-bearings are used a lot in machinery to (7) ………friction.
RearrangementThere are two types of test items in the
rearrangement that useful to test the ability to understand a process or sequence of events in the narration. in this item students were asked to rewrite sentences that have been randomized into the correct order by using numbers or letters of a sequence of sentences that have been at random and are usually advised to provide them one or two correct answers. Because the first two or three answers are in the wrong order will make the remaining sentences are in the wrong order. So, one wrong answer leads to an incorrect answer the second, third, and so on.
Type 1The first type of this item the student was told to
rearrange the letters of sentences in their correct order in the box.
Type 2Type is based on reading and text comprehension
of students had to rearrange the specific information contained in the text and the students must write a letters of sentences in their correct order in the box.
Example; please, look at your book page 30
Example Type 1
1. The dogs were separated from their human masters and were put into large fields.
2. For instance, they wagged their tails, they barked and growled, and they fawned on animals which possessed food.
3. Psychologists observing them found that they reacted towards each other in much the same way as they used to respond to people.
4. Recently an experiment was conducted with a group of dogs to find out how much their behaviour was, in fact, simply a result of human environment.
5. Puppies born to those dogs and kept out of contact with people showed the same bahaviour patterns: they were extremely wild and afraid of human beings.
Cloze Test Procedure
Cloze test function to measure the level of difficulty reading the text because this is a reliable means to determining the a particular text to match the student's ability. General purpose of these tests is possible to measure reading comprehension but can now be used as a measure of language skills and as an important feature in language testing.
Show WhiteOnce upon a time, there lived a little girl named Snow White. She lived
with her cruel stepmother (1)… a castle because her parents were (2)… when she was a child. Snow White (3)… into a beautiful girl. Her beauty (4)… everyone jealous included her stepmother. One (5)… she heard her stepmother talking about (6)... Snow White in the castle because she (7)… to be admitted as the most (8)… woman in the kingdom. Snow White didn’t (9)… to die, so she decided to (10)… away from the castle. In the (11)… of the night when everyone was (12)…, Snow White silently escaped. After a long (13)…, Snow White felt very tired and hungry (14)… she went on continue her running. (15)… a while, she came into a (16)… wood. There she found a little (17)… . She knocked the door but no (18)… answered. She went in and found (19)… foods there. She ate the food (20)… fell asleep. Meanwhile, the seven dwarfs (21)… coming home. They went inside and (22)… when they seen there was a (23)… beautiful girl sleep on their bed. (24)… was frightened when she saw the (25)… . Doc, one of the dwarfs asked (26) … name, Snow White told them her (27)…, why did she runs away and (28)…. The dwarfs felt a pity on (29)…. They offered Snow White to live (30)… them in the wood. Snow White accepted the offering and so after that she lived happily in the wood with the seven dwarfs.
The term 'open-ended items' is usually used to indicate a subjective question that gets a response from the students. The desired response may range from one-word answer, a sentence or two sentences.
(One- word answer)Give the name of the town where the writer had a bad accident.(Answer in a few words)You have a friend who is keen on cross-country running. Which event can he enter at the end of the month?(Sentence answer)According to the article, why do you think so few foreign cars have been imported into Singapore recently.
Correct answer in a grammatically correct sentence or a sentence containing only a minor error………………………………..3Correct answer in a sentence containing one or two minor errors (but causing no difficulty in understanding)……………………….2Correct answer but very difficult to understand because of one or more major grammatical errors………………………………………………….1Incorrect answer in a sentence with or without errors…………………..0
Story Readinga. Skimming term used to indicate the method of reading
to understand texts from beginning to end to know the essence of the story. In the test skimming usually students are taught to read carefully and given a question aimed at the general points and outline only
b. Scanning, the term is intended to be used when reading skills to search for specific information. On scanning tests students are usually given the questions before they read the text. So as that they are only looking for specific information related with a question.