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ERIC Number: ED142034
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1976
Reference Count: N/A
Discrete Structure-Point Testing: Problems and Alternatives. TESL Reporter, Vol. 9, No. 4.
Aitken, Kenneth G.
This paper presents some reasons for reconsidering the use of discrete structure-point tests of language proficiency, and suggests an alternative basis for designing proficiency tests. Discrete point tests are one of the primary tools of the audio-lingual method of teaching a foreign language and are based on certain assumptions, including the following: (1) there are a given number of specific structure points, the mastery of which constitutes "knowing" a language; (2) the surface structure of a language can be systematically described and its elements listed and compared with any other language similarly described; and (3) the mastery of a language may be divided into the mastery of a number of separate skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Objections to all of these assumptions are outlined, and discrete point tests are compared with integrative tests. The latter are based on the premise that "knowing" a language should be determined by the students' ability to operate in a specified sociolinguistic situation with ease or effect. Cloze tests, dictation, and tests involving error recognition all test integrative skills. The construction and use of these tests are outlined. (CLK)
Descriptors: Audiolingual Methods, Cloze Procedure, Communicative Competence (Languages), Error Analysis (Language), Language Instruction, Language Patterns, Language Proficiency, Language Skills, Language Tests, Language Usage, Pragmatics, Second Language Learning, Sociolinguistics, Teaching Methods, Test Construction, Test Validity
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Brigham Young Univ., Laie, HI. Div. of Communication and Language Arts.