How Does Context Contribute to EFL Learners Assessment of Vocabulary Gain
Keywords: vocabulary assessment; contextualized words; matching; cloze test; sentence-level gap filling
Gaziantep University, Turkey
Dr. Berrin Ui§kun received her undergraduate degree from the Department of English Language and Literature. Upon winning a Fullbright Scholarship, she continued his Master s studies at the State University of New York in Albany, US, and received her degree in TESL. She presently holds a PhD degree in TEFL. Her research interests are testing and assessment, reading comprehension and motivation in learning a FL.
In this article, I describe the development and trial of three measurement techniques each of which will be providing varying degrees of context for the assessment of the subjects lexical knowledge. These are the word-definition matching task with a complete lack of context; the gap-filling task with reduced context at the sentence level; and the rational cloze which provides discoursal clues extending to the whole of the text. Three language levels were included into the study to establish a range of language ability groups in tertiary education, each of which would be given these three assessment types at their own level of language difficulty. The scores were compared within groups and across groups to provide empirical evidence to the hypotheses introduced by the study. The researcher investigated how much of context was conducive to success in vocabulary tests at different stages of linguistic ability. Item/global comparisons yielded information on the discrimination power of each test format for each language ability level. The data were also submitted to a Principal Components analysis to see whether each assessment task had a separate construct underlying it. The results showed that the number and the magnitude of the factors that emerged from the analysis was determined by the language proficiency of the group and their ability to exploit the contextual information in the linguistic environment of the word.