WRITING ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEST

Posted: October 13, 2010 in Uncategorized


Writing English Language Test

A large number of examinations in the past have encouraged a tendency to separate testing from teaching. Both testing and teaching are so closely interrelated that it is virtually impossible to work in either field without being constantly concerned with the other. Tests may be constructed primarily as a means of assessing the student’s performance in the language. In the former case, the test is geared to the teaching that has taken place, whereas in the latter case the teaching is often geared largely to the test. Standardized tests and public examinations, in fact, may exert such a considerable influence on the average teacher that they are often instrumental in determining the kind of teaching that takes place before the test.

Testing the language skills
Four major skills in communicating through language are often broadly defined as listening and speaking, reading and writing.

Ways of assessing performance in the four major skills may take the form of tests of:
• Listening (auditory)comprehension, in which short utterances, dialogues, talks and lectures are given to the testees;
• Speaking ability, usually in the form of an interview, a picture description, role play, and a problem-solving task involving pair work or group work;
• Reading comprehension, in which questions are set to test the students’ ability to understand the gist of a text and to extract key information on specific points in the text; and
• Writing ability, usually in the form of letters, reports, memos, messages, instructions, and accounts of past events, etc.

Testing Language areas
In an attempt to isolate the language areas learnt, a considerable number of tests include sections on:
• Grammar and usage;
• Vocabulary (concerned with word meaning, word formation and collocations);
• Phonology (concerned with phonemes, stress and intonation).

Tests of grammar and usage
These tests measure students’ ability to recognize appropriate grammatical forms and to manipulate structures.

Tests of vocabulary
A test of vocabulary measures students’ knowledge of the meaning of certain words as well as the patterns and collocations in which they occur. Such a test may test their active vocabulary (the words they should be able to use in speaking and in writing) or their passive vocabulary (the words they should be able to recognize and understand when they are listening to someone or when they are reading). Obviously, in this kind of test the method used to select the vocabulary items (=sampling) is the utmost importance.

Tests of phonology
Test items designed to test phonology might attempt to assess the following sub-skills; ability to recognize and pronounce the significant sound contrasts of a language, ability to recognize and use the stress patterns of a language, and ability to hear and produce the melody or patterns of the tunes of a language (i.e. the rise and fall of the voice)

Language skills and language elements

At all levels but the most elementary, it is generally advisable to include test items which measure the ability to communicate in the target language. How important, for example, is the ability to discriminate between the phonemes /i:/ and /I/? Even if they are confused by a testee and he or she says look at that sheep sailing slowly out of the harbor, it is unlikely that misunderstanding will result because the context provides other clues to the meaning. All languages contain numerous so-called ‘redundancies’ which help to overcome problems of this nature.
Furthermore, no student can be described as being proficient in a language simply because he or she is able to discriminate between two sounds or has mastered a number of structures of the language. Successful communication in situations which stimulate real life is the best test of mastery of a language. It can thus be argued that fluency in English-a person’s ability to express facts, ideas, feelings and attitudes clearly and with ease, in speech or in writing, and the ability to understand what he or she hears and reads-can best be measured by tests which evaluate performance in the language skills. Listening and reading comprehension tests, oral interviews and letter-writing assess performance in those language skills used in real life.

Approaches to language testing
Language tests can be classified according to four main approaches to testing:
• The essay-translation approach
• The structuralist approach
• The integrative approach
• The communicative approach

The essay-translation approach
This approach is commonly referred to as the pre-scientific stage of language testing. No special skill or expertise in testing is required; the subjective judgment of the teacher is considered to be of paramount importance. Tests usually consist of essay writing, translation, and grammatical analysis. The tests also have a heavy literary and cultural bias. Public examinations resulting from the essay-translation approach sometimes have an oral component at the upper intermediate and advanced levels-though this has sometimes been regarded in the past as something additional and in no way an integral part of the examination.
The structuralist approach
This approach is characterized by the view that language learning is chiefly concerned with the systematic acquisition of a set of habits. It draws on the work of structural linguistics, in particular the importance of contrastive analysis and the need to identify and measure the learner’s mastery of the separate elements of the target language; phonology, vocabulary and grammar. The skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are also separated from one another as much as possible because it is considered essential to test one thing at a time.
Such features of the structuralist approach are, of course, still valid for certain types of tests and for certain purposes. For example, the desire to concentrate on the testees’ ability to write by attempting to separate a composition test from reading is commendable in certain respects. Indeed, there are several features of the approach which merit consideration when constructing any good test.

The integrative approach
This approach involves the testing of language in context and is thus concerned primarily with meaning and the total communicative effect of discourse. Integrative tests do not seek to separate language skills into neat divisions in order to improve test reliability test; instead, they are often designed to assess the learner’s ability to use two or more skills simultaneously. Integrative tests are concerned with a global view of proficiency, are as follows:
• Grammar of expectancy
• Functional language

Characteristic of Integrative tests:
• Cloze testing
• Dictation
• Oral interview
• Translation
• Essay writing

The communicative approach
The communicative approach to language testing is sometimes linked to the integrative approach. However, although both approaches emphasize the importance of the meaning of utterances rather than their form and structure, there are nevertheless fundamental differences between the two approaches. Communicative tests are concerned primarily with how language is used in communication.
The attempt to measure different language skills in communicative tests is based on a view of language referred to as the divisibility hypothesis. Communicative testing results in an attempt to obtain different profiles of a learner’s performance in the language.

Objective testing
Subjective and objective testing
Subjective and objective are terms used to refer to the scoring of tests. All test items, no matter how they are devised, require candidates to exercise a subjective judgment. In an essay test, for example , candidates must think of what to say and then express their ideas as well as possible; in a multiple-choice test they have to weigh up carefully all the alternatives and select the best one. Furthermore, all tests are constructed subjectively by the tester, who decides which areas of language to test, how to test those particular areas and what kind of items to use for this purpose.
Since objective tests usually have only one correct answer, they ca be scored mechanically. The fact that objective tests can be marked by computer is one important reason for their evident popularity among examining bodies responsible for testing large numbers of candidates.

Tests of grammar
The following are some of the common types of objective items used to test awareness of the grammatical features of the language. They are as follows:
• Multiple-choice items
• Error-recognition items
• Rearrangement items
• Completion items
• Transformation items
• Items involving the changing of words
• ‘broken sentence’ items
• Pairing and matching items
• Combination items
• Addition items

Testing vocabulary
Many or more traditional types of vocabulary tests are designed in such a way that they test knowledge of words which, though frequently found in many English textbooks, are rarely used in ordinary speech.
The first task for the writer of a vocabulary test is to determine the degree to which he or she wishes to concentrate on testing the students’ active or passive vocabulary. The next task is to decide whether lexical items in the test should be taken from the spoken or the written language. Selection of vocabulary can thus be thought of as falling into the following rough divisions according to the four major language skills:
• Listening : passive/spoken
• Reading : passive/ written
• Speaking : active/ spoken
• Writing : active/ written

Listening comprehension tests
For purposes of convenience, auditory tests are divided into two broad categories:
• Tests of phoneme discrimination and of sensitivity to stress and intonation
• Test of listening comprehension
Oral production tests
The following are range of possible types of oral tests:
• Reading aloud
• Conversational exchanges
• Using pictures for assessing oral production
• The short talk
• Group discussion and role playing

Testing reading comprehension

In most tests, especially tests of general proficiency, it is useful to include a variety of text types fro reading comprehension in addition to the usual, more literary extract: e.g. newspaper articles, instructions for using appliances and machinery, directory extract, public notices, timetables and maps, advertisement, etc. The inclusion of such text types will not only provide a more realistic and reliable means of assessment but will also help to motivate students by demonstrating how the target language is used in real-life situations. Consequently, it becomes important that the actual presentation of the material should be as authentic as possible. There are several types of tests of reading comprehension are as follows:
• Initial stages of reading: matching tests (word matching, sentence matching, picture and sentence matching
• Intermediate and advances stages of reading: matching tests
• True/false reading tests
• Multiple-choice items (short texts)
• Multiple-choice items (longer texts)
• Completion items
• Rearrangement items
• Cloze procedure
• Open-ended and miscellaneous items
• Cursory reading

Testing the writing skills

The writing skills are complex and sometimes difficult to teach, requiring mastery not only of grammatical and rhetorical devices but also of conceptual and judgment element, the following analysis attempts to group the many and varied skills necessary for writing god prose into five general components or main areas.
• Language use: the ability to write correct and appropriate sentences;
• Mechanical skills; the ability to use correctly those conventions peculiar to the written language- e.g. punctuation, spelling;
• Treatment of content; the ability to think creatively and develop thoughts, excluding all irrelevant information;
• Stylistic skills; the ability to write in an appropriate manner with an ability to select, organize and order relevant information.

There are several types of tests in writing are as follows:
• Testing composition writing
• Setting the composition
• Grading the composition
• Treatment of written errors
• Objective tests: mechanics (punctuation, spelling)
• Objective tests: style and register
• Controlled writing

Criteria and types of tests

Validity
The validity of a test is the extent to which it measure what it is supposed to measure and nothing else. Every test should be as valid as the constructor can make it. The test must aim to provide a true measure of a particular skill which it is intended to measure; to the extent that it measures external knowledge and other skills at the same time, it will not be a valid test.

There are structural approach and the broader communicative approach to testing on validity:
• Face validity
• Content validity
• Construct validity
• Empirical validity

Reliability
Reliability is a necessary characteristic of any good test, for it to be valid at all; a test must first be reliable as a measuring instrument. Reliability is of primary importance in the use of both public achievement and proficiency tests and classroom tests.
Factors affecting the reliability of a test are:
• The extent of the sample of material selected for testing
• The administration of the test

Reliability versus validity

Test validity and reliability constitute the two chief criteria for evaluating any test, whatever the theoretical assumptions underlying the test. The fundamental problem, however, lies in the conflict between reliability and validity. The ideal test, of course, be both reliable and valid. However, the greater the reliability of a test, the less validity it usually has. Thus, the real life tasks contained in such productive skills tests as the oral interview, role play, letter writing, etc. may have been given high construct and face validity at the expense of reliability.

Discrimination
Sometimes an important feature of a test is its capacity to discriminate among the different candidates and to reflect the differences in the performance of the individuals in the group. The extent of the need to discriminate will vary depending on the purpose of the test; in many classroom test, the teacher will be much more concerned with finding out how well the students have mastered the syllabus and will hope for cluster of marks around the 80 percent and 90 per cent brackets. Nevertheless, there may be occurrences in which to assess relative ability and locate areas of difficulty.

Administration
A test must be practicable; in other words, it must be fairly straight-forward to administer. It is only too easy to become so absorbed in the actual construction of test items that the most obvious practical considerations concerning the test are overlooked. The length of time available for the administration of the test is frequently misjudged even by experienced test writers, especially if the complete test consists of a number of sub-tests.

Backwash effects

Oral tests should be continued as far as possible in certain language learning situations if for no other reason than the backwash effects they have on the teaching that takes place before the test. The possible consequences of many reading comprehension test on the development of the reading skills were cited as another example of the backwash effects of testing. Each element and skill has been treated in the importance of the influence on teaching.

Types of tests

There is some confusion regarding the terminology used to denote the different types of language tests in use. There are several types of tests are as follows:
• Achievement/ attainment tests (class progress tests, achievement tests)
• Proficiency tests
• Aptitude tests
• Diagnostic tests

Tes Bahasa
(Anotasi “Tes Bahasa” Karya Djiwandono)

Evaluasi Kemampuan Bahasa
Dalam penyelenggaraan pembelajaran pada umumnya, termasuk pembelajaran bahasa, senantiasa dapat dibedakan adanya tiga komponen uama, yaitu tujuan pembelajaran, kegiatan pembelajaran, dan evaluasi hasil pembelajaran.
Tujuan pembelajaran sebagai komponen pertama berisi identifikasi dan rumusan tujuan umm dan rinciannya dalam bentuk tujuan-tujuan yang lebih khusus, yang hendak dicapai dan diwujudkan dalam pembelajaran. Rumusan tujuan itulah yang digunakan sebagai acuan dalam merencanakan dan menyelenggarakan kegiatan pembelajaran didasarkan atas dan dimaksudkan sebagai upaya untuk mencapai tujuan penyelenggaraan pembelajaran.
Komponen kegiatan pembelajaran merpakan inti penyelenggaraan pembelajaran yang dimaksudkan untuk mencapai tujuan pembelajaran yang telah diidentifikasi dan dirumuskan. Kegiatannya terdiri dari kegiatan yang dilakukan oleh pengajar, oleh pembelajar, dan secara bersama dalam bentuk interaksi antara pengajar dan pembelajar dengan menggunakan alat-alat belajar berupa buku text dan alat-alat bantu yang diperlukan, serta berbagai latihan dan praktek yang dimaksudkan untuk membantu mewujudkan tercapainya tujuan pembelajaran.
Komponen evaluasi hasil pembelajaran merupakan bagian penyelenggaraan pembelajaran yang dimaksudkan untuk mengevaluai tingkat ketercapaian tujuan pembelajaran yang telah diupayakan melalui kegiatan penyelenggaraan kegiatan pembelajaran. Melalui kegiatan evaluasi ini diharapkan dapat diperoleh informasi yang sahih dan dapat dipercaya tentang hasil pembelajaran, terutama tentang tingkat penguasaan dan keberhasilan pembelajar dalam bidang yang dipelajari. Dengan titik berat pada tingkat keberhasilan pembelajar seperti dinyatakan dalam bentuk nilai yang diperoleh pembelajar, komponen evaluasi penyelengraan pembelajaran ini memberikan pula informasi tentang segi-segi lain dari penyelenggaraan pembelajaran, dan juga mutu alat yang digunakan untuk melakukan evaluasi hasil pembelajaran, terutama tes.
Dalam penyelengaraan pembelajaran bahasa, objek evaluasi hasil pembelajaran dititikberatkan pada tingkat penguasaan kemampuan bahasa yang telah berhasil dicapai oleh pembelajar. Penguasaan kemampuan bahasa itu dapat dibedakan antara kemampuan pasif-reseptif yang berintikan pemahaman wacana yang disampaikan secara lisan (kemampuan menyimak) dan tertulis (kemampuan memahami bacaan), dan kemampuan aktif-produktif yang meliputi kemampuan untuk menggunakan bahasa secara lisan (kemampuan berbicara) atau tertulis (kemampuan menulis). Dari segi bagian-bagiannya objek evaluasi hasil pembelajaran bahasa dapat dibedakan menjadi penguasaan kosakata dan penguasaan tata bahasa.
Dalam wacana tentang tes bahasa sebagai bagian dari wacana tentang tes dan evaluasi pada umumnya seringkali dijumpai berbagai istilah yang penggunaan dan pemaknaanya diwarnai dengan keragaman, tidak terkecuali istilah istilah evaluasi, penilaian, pengukuran, dan tes. Evaluasi digunakan untuk mengacu pada upaya memberikan penilaian terhadap sesuatu, seperti tingkat kemampuan penggunaan bahasa, atas dasar informasi, kesan, pendapat dan pertimbangan subjektif seorang pemberi evaluasi. Dengan pengertian umum dan jangkauan luas yang sama, apa yang dimaksudkan dengan evaluasi sering dikaitkan atau digunakan sebagai alternative dari istilah penilaian.
Pengukuran merupakan upaya untuk mendeskripsikan sesuatu secara kantitatif sesuai dengan hakikat dan sifat benda yang diukur, misalnya meter untuk panjang, kilogram untuk berat, derajad untuk panas, dan sebagainya. Deskripsi kuantitatif semacam itu diperoleh dengan secara nyata melakukan pengukuran yang hasilnya dapat digunakan sebagai bahan untuk mengimplikasikan digunakannya aspek subjektif penilai.
Tes adalah salah satu alat yang digunakan untuk melakukan pengukuran terhadap sesuatu yang bersifat abstrak, tidak kasat mata, tidak konkrit, seperti kemampuan berpikir, kemampuan mengingat, serta kemampuan berbicara atau kemampuan menulis kemampuan-kemampuan bahasa yang lain. Dari tes diperoleh skor yang bersifat kantitatif yang selanjutnya dapat ditafsirkan dalam tahap evaluasi dengan implikasi subjektif penilai.

Pendekatan Tes Bahasa
Sebagai satu cabang dari kajian tentang bahasa, tes bahasa merupakan bagian dari ilmu bahasa atau linguistic, yaitu ilmu yang mempelajari seluk beluk bahasa. Kajian bahasa itu dapat bersifat umum seperti yang dilakukan dalam Linguistik Umum (General Linguistics) yang membahas masalah-masalah umum seperti latar belakang dan sasaran kajian bahasa, berbagai cara mendeskripsikan bahasa, dialek, penggunaan bahasa, struktur bahasa, bunyi-bunyi bahasa, vocal dan konsosnan, dan lain-lain. Kajian bahasa dapat pula besrsifat ilmiah, teoretis, dan rinci seperti yng dilakukan dalam linguistik teoretis yang menyajikan kajian-kajian tentang seluk-beluk tata bahasa seperti tata bahasa transformasi, atau aspek tertentu dari bahasa seperti kajian tentang makna dalam kajian semantic dan kajian psikologi dalam psikolinguistik.
Dalam kajian bahasa dikenal adanya berbagai cara pandang ata pendekatan terhadap bahasa. Perbedaan cara pandang terhadap bahasa itu dapat dikenali dan ditelusuri keberadaannya pada berbagai cabang kajian bahasa, termasuk tes bahasa, yaitu diantaranya:

1. Pendekatan tradisional

Pendekatan tradisional dalam tes bahasa dikaitkan dengan bentuk pembelajaran bahsa yang tradisional yang banyak digunakan pada kurun waktu ketika belum cukup banyak pembelajaran yang mengembangkan dan penyelenggaraannya didasarkan atas kajian yang memadai terhadap seluk beluk bahasa. Penyelenggaraan tes dalam penyelenggaraan pembelajaran secara tradisional juga tanpa menggunakan suatu teori bahasa tertentu sebagai dasar. Dalam penyelenggaraan tes bahasa dengan pendekatan tradisional ini tidak berpatokan pada rambu-rambu yang baku tentang jenis kemampuan bahasa yang dijadikan sasaran. Dalam pendekatan ini tes bahasa bayak diwarnai bentuk ubjektifitas dalam hal pemilihan kemampuan bahasa yang dijadikan sasaran, pemilihan dan penetapan bahan dan isi tes, serta cara penilaian peserta tes.

2. Pendekatan Diskret
Dalam tes pendekatan diskret, satu butir tes dimaksudkan untuk mengukur hanya satu unsure komponen bahasa. Tes bahasa yang diskret terdiri dari butir-butir yang, secara terpisah diluar konteks, menugaskan peserta tes untuk membedakan satu bunyi bahasa dari bunyi bahasa lain. Seperti, menyebutkan bentuk jamak dari suatu kata benda (bentuk jamak dari sheep adalah sheep).
3. Pendekatan integratif
Cirri integrative melibatkan lebih dari satu unsure bahasa, tidak hanya melibatkan dua atau tiga unsure bahasa, melainkan dapat juga penggabungan lebih dari satu jenis kemampuan atau komponen bahasa.
4. Pendekaan pragmatic
Kemampuan ini berupa kemampuan untuk memahami suatu teks atau wacana, tidak saja berdasarkan konteks linguistic melainkan juga dengan memanfaatkan kemampuan pemahaman unsure-unsur ekstra linguistic.
5. Pendekatan komunikatif
Penerapan kemampua komunikatif pada tes bahasa komunikatif didasarkan pada rincian rumusan yang banyak digunakan, yang memahami kemampuan komunikatif itu sebagai terdiri dari kemampuan linguistic, kemampuan sosiolinguistik, dan kemapuan strategis.

Jenis Tes Secara Umum
Jenis tes secara umum dapat dikenali dan digunakan dalam berbagai bidang pembelajaran, termasuk bidang pembelajaran bahasa, yaitu:
• Cara Penskoran
 Tes Objektif
 Tes Menjodohkan (matching Test)
 Tes Benar-Salah (True-False Test)
 Tes Pilihan Ganda (Multiple-Choice Test)
 Tes Subjektif
 Tes Esei (Essay Test)
 Tes Pertanyaan menggunakan kata Tanya
 Tes Pertanyaan jawaban pendek
 Tes melengkapi
• Cara Penyusunan
 Tes Terstandar
 Perncanaan Tes
 Penulisan Tes
 Review Kritis
 Uji Coba
 Revisi
 Bentuk Akhir
 Tes Buatan Guru
• Cara Menafsirkan Skor
 Tes Acuan Norma
 Tes Acuan Kriteria
• Tujuan Penyelenggaraan
 Tes Seleksi (selection Test)
 Tes Penempatan (placement Test)
 Tes Hasil Belajar (Achievement Test)
 Tes Kemapuan (Proficiency Test)
 Tes Bakat (Aptitude Test)
• Fungsi dalam Penyelenggaraan Pembelajaran
 Tes Formatif (formative Test)
 Tes Sumatif (summative Test)
 Pretes (Pretest)
 Postes (posttest)

Jenis Tes Bahasa

Jenis tes bahasa berdasarkan pendekatan kajian bahasa

Tes Bahasa Diskret
Tes bahasa diskret adalah tes yang disusun berdasarkan pendekatan diskret dalam linguistik, khususnya linguistik struktural. Penerapan pendekatan tes diskret didasarkan pada pemahamna bahwa bahasa terdiri dari unsure-unsur bahasa itu dapat dilakukan mulai dari wacana dalam bentuk pengunaan bahasa yang paling besar, sampai pada unsur yang semakin kecil, termasuk paragraph, kalimat, klausa atau frasa, kata, morfem, alomort, fonem dan alofon.

Tes Bahasa Integratif
Bahasa yang diperlakukan secara berkecil-kecil dan dipisah-pisahkan dalam pendekatan diskret, seolah-olah digabungkan kembali dalam pendekatan integrative. Fokus butir tes pada tes diskret terletak pada satu unsure bahasa saja, pada tes integrative diletakkan pada gabungan unsure bahasa.

Tes Bahasa Pragmatik
Tes yang sejak awal penggunaannya dihubungkan dengan dasar pemahaman berdasarkan kemampuan pragmatic itu adalah tes Cloze. Dalam bentuknya yang konvensional tes Cloze itu berupa satu teks bacaan mengenai suatu bidang tertentu yang sejumlah katanya secara ajeg setiap beberapa kata tertentu telah dihilangkan. Tugas peserta tes adalah mengidentifikasi kata-kata yang telah dihilangkan itu berdasarkan pemahamannya terhadap keseluruhan wacana yang tersisa.

Tes Bahasa Komunikatif

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