In the modern society, reading comprehension is going more and more of import. There are few facets of our lives that are non linked in one manner or another to reading. Equally far as linguistic communication acquisition is concerned, reading is the most of import one in the four basic accomplishments for the scholars who learn English as a foreign linguistic communication. Reading comprehension appears in most standard trials such as NMET ( National Matriculation English Test ) and is regarded as an of import portion in them. For most Chinese pupils, reading is besides regarded as the most efficient manner to larn English.
Testing is an indispensable portion to the devising of learning. A successful trial can non merely inform the instructors and pupils of the advancement the pupils have made but besides diagnose failing in instruction and acquisition, which contributes in bend to the development of learning. As a affair of fact, the importance of proving in instruction has long been recognized and many research workers have been working on this field. However, jobs have been found in the reading trial in NMET. In this paper, the illustration of the constructs of reading, reading ability, the intent and map of reading trial every bit good as the cogency and dependability will be foremost given as the theoretical background of the whole paper. The jobs will so be examined followed by the possible solutions and suggestions to hone the Chinese reading trial.
2 Literature Review
To analyze the cogency on English reading trial in high school, some of the theories should foremost be defined. In this portion, the definition of reading and reading ability, the intent and map of reading trial every bit good as the cogency and dependability of reading trial will be explained as the followers.
2.1 Reading and Reading Ability
2.1.1 The definition of reading
Harmonizing to Widdowson ( 1979 ) , reading is the procedure of uniting textual information with the information a reader brings to the text. In this position, alternatively of pull outing information from the text, reading activates a scope of cognition in the reader ‘s head which, in bend, may be refined and extended by the new information supplied by the text. Just as Goodman ( 1975 ) has stated, reading is a receptive linguistic communication procedure with an indispensable interaction between linguistic communication of the author and idea of the reader. In this instance, reading is likely to be different for the same reader on the same text at a different clip or with a different intent.
2.1.2 The definition of reading ability
Many instructors, text authors and the builders of linguistic communication trials have pointed out that reading is made up of different accomplishment and scheme constituents, across which pupils may exhibit differences in degree of proficiency. Barrett ( 1968 ) distinguishes five accomplishments which concern reading ability, actual comprehension, acknowledgments of the thoughts in the text, illative ability, rating and grasp. Reading ability therefore can be regarded as the ability of the reader to set and utilize reading skills/strategies harmonizing to different reading intents so as to expeditiously acknowledge, grok and/or luxuriant written texts.
2.2 The Purpose and Function of Reading Test
2.2.1 The intent of reading trial
One map of trial is the rating of pupil public presentation for intents of comparing or choice. However, it should non be the exclusive intent or even the main intent of proving in schools. In footings of the intent of reading trial, it should take at proving pupils ‘ ability of passing information and understanding discourse every bit good as pupils ‘ reading accomplishments and reading rate. It can besides uncover what knowledge the pupils have mastered and what they have n’t.
2.2.2 The map of reading trial
In this instance, the map of reading trial can be a guider to the reading instruction pattern both for instructors and pupils. Harmonizing to the reading trial, instructors can cognize what linguistic communication the pupils have achieved and what they have n’t ; what reading accomplishments pupils have mastered and what they still need to be trained, they can cognize what necessitate to be taught to the pupils.
2.3 Validity and Reliability of Reading Test
2.3.1 The cogency of reading trial
Harmonizing Henning ( 1987 ) , cogency in general refers to the rightness of a given trial or any of its constituent parts as a step what it is purported to mensurate. Any trial so may be valid for some intents, but non for others. Henning ‘s definition allows for grades of cogency: trials are more or less valid for their intents ; cogency is non an all-or-none affair ( Alderson et al, 1995 ) . This of import point implies that judgement will hold to be exercised when one decides on the comparative cogency of a trial on the footing of grounds.
To find the cogency of a trial, it is necessary to associate it to a certain standard, which represents what the trials supposed to mensurate. Different types of cogency demand different sorts of standards. By and large, there are concept cogency, face cogency, and content cogency. Construct cogency is a procedure through which linguistic communication testing can be put on a more rational and scientific terms. This type of cogency assumes the being of certain learning theories or concepts underlying the acquisition of abilities and accomplishments ( Heaton, 2000 ) . While, face cogency is concerned with the trial ‘s “ surface credibleness or public acceptableness ” ( Alderson et al, 1995 ) and it by and large involves the layperson ‘s ( typically, the trial takers, instructors, decision makers, and test users ) judgement of the trial. Contented cogency concerns with whether or non the content of the trial is sufficiently representative and comprehensive for the trial to be a valid step of what it is supposed to mensurate ( Henning, 2001 ) . The trial should be so constructed as to incorporate a representative sample of the class, the relationship between the trial points and the class objectives ever being evident ( Heaton, 2000 ) .
2.3.2 The dependability of reading trial
Reliability is a necessary feature of any good trial. It is a step of truth, consistence, dependableness, or equity of tonss ensuing from a peculiar scrutiny ( Henning, 2001 ) . A dependable trial is a trial that is consistent and reliable and can give the same consequences when it is given on different occasions or used by different people.
Two sorts of dependability are frequently discussed by people, trial dependability and scorer dependability. Test dependability reflects the existent degree of understanding between the consequences of one trial with itself or with another trial. Such understanding, ideally, would be the same if there were no measurement mistake, which may originate from prejudice of choice, from prejudice due to clip of proving or from examiner prejudice. Meanwhile, scorer dependability is the consistence of hiting provided by two or more scorers. It can be affected by either the intra-rater dependability or inter-rater dependability. The former refers to the incompatibility within one scorer and the latter refers to the incompatibility between the scorers.
2.3.3 The relationship between cogency and dependability of reading trial
As we have seen, test cogency and dependability constitute the two head standards for measuring any trial, whatever the theoretical premises underlying the trial. The cardinal job, nevertheless, lies in the struggle between dependability and cogency. The ideal trial should, of class, be both dependable and valid. However, the greater the dependability of a trial, the less cogency it normally has. Consequently, it is indispensable for trial authors to invent a valid and dependable trial.
3 The Validity Problems of Reading Test in High School in China
After discoursing the theories of reading and reading trial, in this portion, the jobs of reading trial in high school will be analyzed, followed by the analysis of the grounds behind them. As testing is close to learning, it is really of import to plan a valid reading trial, because a good trial can hold an active slipstream consequence on instruction.
3. 1 Validity Problems
Nowadays, different types of English linguistic communication proving are booming in China. However, the dominant one which has the biggest measure of campaigners is still the National Matriculation English Test ( NMET ) . The reading test portion of it focuses on proving pupils ‘ deep understanding ability such as doing inference/ anticipation, acquiring the chief thought, understanding the point of view and intent of the writer and understanding the discourse construction. The intent is clear and definite nevertheless, the types of the points in reading comprehension are so limited-mainly utilizing the Multiple Choice Questions ( MCQ ) , which has some drawbacks in proving pupils ‘ ability truly and efficaciously. MCQ of reading trials are the station reading inquiries, and therefore, the examiners test reading comprehension as a consequence non as a procedure. In this instance, the trial takers become inactive information receivers instead than active article translators, which does non match to the theory that accent on the reader ‘s interaction. Besides, the MCQ can non prove pupils ‘ generalising ability efficaciously.
The impact of the trial can be called slipstream, and some experts say the slipstream is an indivisible portion of the cogency. Hu ( 1996 ) says MCQ frequently has a negative slipstream consequence, and some instructors and pupils may concentrate on cultivating their receptive accomplishments but neglect cultivating the productive accomplishments, unaware of authorship and speech production in English. Owe to the negative slipstream of NMET, in some schoolroom trial, some instructors besides use MCQ as the chief point to prove pupils ‘ reading ability. In order to do pupils acquire high Markss, particularly for grade three pupils in high schools, instructors chiefly teach them the linguistic communication cognition and allow them pattern sample documents of NMET, and learn them matter-of-fact illations more than propositional illations sometimes, which make the instruction procedure go a test-oriented instruction and pupils ‘ linguistic communication competency is difficult to be improved. Therefore, from the treatment above, we know that NMET every bit good as some schoolroom trials could non avoid its low cogency, due to overdriving the MCQs.
3.2 Reasons for the Problems
Assorted grounds have been analyzed by a batch of educational experts. The major ground for the job can be interpreted as follows.
First and first, in order to maintain the NMET has a high dependability, particularly scorer dependability, the NMET interior decorators use the MCQ as the chief type of points in reading trial with the intent that they reckon taging of MCQ is non affected by the personal judgement of the trial marker, which can do the NMET has higher scorer dependability. Therefore, the taging procedure can be more objectively. Besides that, it tends to be more expeditiously for taging MCQs.
Apart from that, in order to do pupils to acquire high Markss in the NMET, the instructors in high schools focus on learning pupils to get the hang some tips for calculating out replies and pattern NMET samples every bit much as possible. Due to the ground that some instructors are missing of trial theories, it is difficult for them to plan a valid trial paper harmonizing to the nature of the reading and the reading ability.
4 Planing a Valid Reading Trial
After discoursing the cogency jobs of NMET and some schoolroom reading trials, possible solutions to the jobs and suggestions on how to plan the reading trial will be discussed in the undermentioned portion. An illustration of the proper design of the reading trial is provided in the appendix.
4.1 The Choice of reading stuffs
Before fixing inquiries, a really of import undertaking is taking the reading stuffs. If the pick of reading stuff is non appropriate, it will convey trouble to the proposition. Besides, it will besides do the trial lose dependability and cogency. The reading comprehension trial in learning should run into the intents and demands of learning in the certain semester ( phase ) .
Choices of reading stuffs should be able to run into the demands of the proving to accomplish their purposes. In add-on to the subject, linguistic communication lucid, compact construction, attending should besides be paid to the undermentioned facets.
To get down with, the types of reading stuffs should be emphasized. From one point of position, the reliable stuffs should be advocated. Authentic trials must incorporate transitions that trial takers will read in real-life state of affairss, because the artificiality of the linguistic communication may impact the generalize ability of the trial mark and therefore the concept cogency of the trial ( Bachman & A ; Palmer, 1996 ) . Consequently, the manners of reading stuffs should be similar to which the pupils read in category. In add-on, the types of stuffs that pupils may hold read and they need to read should be used. The transitions can be taken from newspapers, magazines, diaries, non-literary books, cusps, booklets, etc. They are by and large reliable but some redaction may take topographic point for elucidation. They may be enlightening or descriptive or contain sentiment and remark.
What comes following is the trouble of reading stuffs. The length of the transitions must be suited for the trial takers, sing their present degree of linguistic communication proficiency. While the inordinate length of the transition may set the trial takers under emphasis and increase their anxiousness degree, a brief transition may promote frequent arrested developments and word-by-word attack to reading instead than prove their accomplishments of seeking for information quickly and expeditiously. Therefore, a suited transition should be one that contains sufficient information and provides the trial takers with ample chances to use the assorted reading accomplishments that they have acquired. The trouble of linguistic communication and vocabulary should be appropriate. The demands of pupils ‘ vocabulary and grammatical cognition should non travel beyond the linguistic communication ability of the pupils, because the intent of reading trial is to prove pupils ‘ ability of acquiring information through reading the written stuffs.
The freshness of the content of reading stuffs is another facet that should be extremely considered. The stuffs used must hold new information, that is to state, it is unknown information to the pupils, avoid utilizing the articles that pupil has read or are really similar with the articles they have read or the replies can be known from general cognition.
The last point I intend to advert here is the suited capable affair, which means that the infusions of general topical content are better picks than those of specialised content. If the capable affair of the transition is familiar to some trial takers but non to others, the trial is thought to be biased. The cognition of reading stuffs should be appropriate. The cognition that reading stuff contained should follow with pupils ‘ cognition construction degree, non excessively specialised. Necessitating pupils to hold the background cognition is doubtless be inappropriate to raise the trouble inquiries.
4.2 Items Choice
In the reading comprehension trials, chiefly five formats are used: Multiple Choice Questions ( MCQ ) , Short Answer Questions, True or False ( T/F ) , Translation, Summary. These formats can be classified, harmonizing to how they are marked, into two types: one is nonsubjective, the other is subjective. MCQ and T/F belong to the former, the others to the latter. Many reading practicians prefer the nonsubjective trial formats for their high marker dependability, while many others argue that it is the high cogency which subjective trial formats enjoy that is the most indispensable.
Subjective trials are by and large believed to be more valid trials. Most pedagogues would accept that subjective trials would hold more cogency than nonsubjective trials. Teachers have entree to some tonss of subjective trials from their pupils, and they know what the tonss truly intend. If the pupils bring them the tonss of nonsubjective trials and inquire the instructors inquiries about what the tonss mean or inquire for advice about how they can better their tonss, possibly instructors can make nil. On the contrary, if pupils bring the tonss of subjective trials and inquire the same inquiry, instructors at least know where they can acquire hints about how good he or she learns because the tonss are sustained by most obvious grounds.
In order to better senior in-between school pupils ‘ reading ability, subjective points should be increased in the reading trial, because it can prove pupils ‘ existent reading ability efficaciously. Teachers can suggest some inquiries after pupils reading the stuffs, but the replies expected given by the pupils should non be excessively long. In this manner, cut downing the words pupils need to compose harmonizing to the pupils ‘ existent degree can do mark to be more nonsubjective.
Although MCQ are sometimes the most suited instruments for proving reading comprehension, they should non be over used. Frequently, other point types are more interesting and utile. Sometimes the same text will demand at least two or three different types of points. ( Heaton, 2000 )
4.3 Other attendings should be paid
Besides what have been mentioned above, there are some other facets that instructors should take into consideration.
Teachers are supposed to understand the pupils ‘ verbal ability, reading Intelligent and reading accomplishments roundly, with to the full consideration of what pupils know, what they do non cognize every bit good as what they should reexamine. Teachers should besides be clear about if the content of the trial has beyond pupils ‘ cognition construction and the degree of cognition in this country. The more information the instructors have about their pupils, the easier it is for them to plan the trial. Then the inquiries will non be so asinine that they can non reflect the true degree of pupils ‘ reading ability objectively.
Second, deictic word should been written in item before each point so as to inform pupils of what to make, how to make it clearly and accurately. Meanwhile, it is of import for instructors to do certain that the right reply to the trial inquiry is non the original sentence of the reading stuff. If so, it will be hard to prove the existent reading ability of the campaigners and it will give the instruction pattern a incorrect counsel with lessening of the trouble of inquiries.
Last but non least, interferential points should hold some intervention with the conformation to the regulations of grammar, the length and the construction of the right replies. In other words, these points should be maintained similar to the replies so as to avoid unwittingly divulge hints, otherwise, some options would lose effectivity.
All the above are the suggested solutions to the jobs in Chinese High School reading trial. One possible version of the revised reading trial in NMET is provided. ( see Appendix )
This paper chiefly discusses the construct of reading, reading ability, cogency, dependability and the map of reading trial. The jobs in NMET reading trial in China are analyzed. Because of the over-use of the MCQ in reading trial which could barely prove the reading ability that senior in-between school pupils should get the hang required by high school English course of study, the writer points out that instructors should increase the subjective inquiries in the reading trial, so as to accomplish a high cogency. Then the writer puts frontward her ain thoughts about how to plan the reading trial from the pick of reading stuffs, points choice and the attendings should be paid when design the trial paper. Reviewing this paper, due to some nonsubjective limitations, some restrictions besides explored, such as lacking of research method and illustrations, which would do the article being a small spot difficult to convert readers. In the hereafter research, the writer was traveling to set more accent on equilibrating the cogency and the dependability of reading trial which is designed for a big figure of campaigners.