ELT - J Issue #2 Preview Article: Devising Multiple-choice Questions, Quizzes and Tests
Issue 2 of ELT in Japan will consist of four articles: (1) "Teaching English [l] sounds vs. [r] sounds: Integrating applied phonology into the EFL classroom"; (2) "Devising multiple-choice questions, quizzes and tests"; (3) "Semantic mapping activities for the speaking class"; and (4)"Semantic mapping activities for the writing class".
Here are two of those articles available for download in a special preview of ELT-J Issue #2, which will be published in full by the end of this month (Feb. 2010). Click on the links below to view the articles at GoogleDocs. You can download them from there as well, in .pdf .
1. Devising Multiple-choice Questions, Quizzes and Tests
In this article we will look at how to introduce students to 'English-only' multiple-choice questions and then how to use such questions to assess students and evaluate courses. The focus here will be specifically on using multiple-choice questions to construct tests that assess vocabulary learning drawn from the syllabus, materials, and content of specific EFL classes--i.e., the classes you have to teach and your students have to attend. It is hoped that these explanations and examples will serve, for example, teachers who have to give grades to hundreds of students each semester and have limited time to do other types of testing (such as oral interviews or projects, which can be too time-consuming to manage if you teach hundreds of students).
2. Semantic mapping activities for the speaking class
In TEFL situations, when we say 'vocabulary study', the two activities that most often come to mind for students quite likely are (1) looking up words in a bi-lingual dictionary and (2) compiling and studying bi-lingual word lists. If this is what is meant by vocabulary study, it hardly could be called 'systematic'. The weaknesses of such an approach to vocabulary are many. For example, students may use an L1-L2 dictionary to confirm the meanings of an L1 meaning in L2, and then forget the L2 item. Also, bi-lingual word lists are hard to organise; indeed, they lack any organising principle except that an L1 word should be matched with an L2 counterpart and that such items, once translated, should follow each other on a list. Little wonder then students do not find time to study and review them. What is more, the input of vocabulary to be learnt, revised, or reviewed is too limited to items (words, phrases) encountered in the textbook or specified by the teacher. Finally, and most importantly for the purpose of this introduction, the most obvious flaw is that there is very little communicative or social linguistic activity required to use a dictionary or make a bilingual word list. An alternative to this is using a semantic mapping activity.