Objective Lexical and Grammatical Characteristics of L2 Written Compositions and the Validity of Separate-Component Tests

  • Pierre J. L. Arnaud

Abstract

Discrete-item tests of separate components of language went out of fashion in the 1970s with the trend towards communicative assessment. They were, however, summarily condemned and, in Farhady’s (1983) words, ‘… the discrete-point approach became the object of serious and sometimes unreasonable attacks from scholars in the field.’ This does not mean that they are entirely devoid of practical or theoretical interest, and the present study is an attempt at validating discrete-item tests of vocabulary and grammar against objective characteristics of English compositions written by French learners.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arnaud, P.J.L. (1984). ‘The lexical richness of L2 written productions and the validity of vocabulary tests’, in Culhane, T., Klein-Braley, C. and Stevenson, D.K. (eds), Practice and Problems in Language Testing. Colchester: University of Essex, pp. 14–28.Google Scholar
  2. Arnaud, P.J.L. (1989). ‘Vocabulary and grammar: a multitrait-multimethod experiment’, in Nation, P. and Carter, R. (eds), Vocabulary Acquisition. AILA Review/Revue de l’AILA, Vol. 6, pp. 56–65.Google Scholar
  3. Botel, M., Dawkins, J. and Granowsky, A. (1973). ‘A syntactic complexity formula’, in McGinitie, W.H. (ed.), Assessment Problems in Reading. Newark, Del.: International Reading Association (quoted from Perkins, 1980).Google Scholar
  4. Collèges: Programmes et instructions (1985). Paris: CNDP.Google Scholar
  5. Corrigan, A. and Upshur, J.A. (1982). ‘Test method and linguistic factors in foreign-language tests’, IRAL, Vol. 20, pp. 313–21.Google Scholar
  6. Farhady, H. (1983). ‘New issues for ESL proficiency testing’, in Oller, J.W. (ed.), Issues in Language Testing Research. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House, pp. 253–69.Google Scholar
  7. Flahive, D.E. and Snow, B.G. (1980). ‘Measures of syntactic complexity in evaluating ESL compositions’, in Oller, J.W. and Perkins, K. (eds), Research in Language Testing. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House, pp. 171–6.Google Scholar
  8. Gaies, S.J. (1980). ‘T-unit analysis in second-language research: applications, problems and limitations’, TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 14, pp. 53–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hofland, K. and Johansson, S. (1982). Word Frequencies in British and American English. Bergen: The Norwegian Computing Centre for the Humanities.Google Scholar
  10. Jacobs, H.L., Zinkgraf, S.A., Wormuth, D.R., Hartfiel, V.F. and Hughey, J.B. (1981), Testing ESL Composition: A Practical Approach. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.Google Scholar
  11. Larsen-Freeman, D. (1978). ‘An ESL index of development’, TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 12, pp. 439–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Larsen-Freeman, D. and Strom, V. (1977). ‘The construction of a secondlanguage index of development’, Language Learning, Vol. 27, pp.123–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lim Ho-peng (1983). ‘Using T-unit measures to assess writing proficiency of university ESL students, RELC Journal, Vol. 14, pp. 35–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Linnarud, M. (1975). Lexis in Free Production: An Analysis of the Lexical Texture of Swedish StudentsWritten Work. Swedish-English Contrastive Studies, report no. 6. University of Lund.Google Scholar
  15. Linnarud, M. (1986). Lexis in Composition: A Performance Analysis of Swedish LearnersWritten English. Lund: CWK Gleerup.Google Scholar
  16. Mendelsohn, D.J. (1981). We should assess lexical richness, not only lexical errors. Paper presented at the 15th TESOL Annual Convention, Detroit, 3–8 March.Google Scholar
  17. Mendelsohn, D.J. (1983). ‘The case for considering syntactic maturity in ESL and EFL’, IRAL, Vol. 21, pp. 299–311.Google Scholar
  18. Muller, C. (1977). Principles et méthodes de statistique lexicale. Paris: Hachette.Google Scholar
  19. Nihalani, N.K. (1981). ‘The quest for the L2 index of development’, RELC Journal, Vol. 12, pp. 50–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Perkins, K. (1980). ‘Using objective methods of attained writing proficiency to discriminate among holistic evaluations’, TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 14, pp. 61–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Robb, T., Ross, S. and Shortreed, I. (1986). ‘Salience of feedback on error and its effect on EFL writing quality’, TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 20, pp. 83–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Scott, M. and Tucker, G.R. (1974). ‘Error analysis and English-language strategies of Arab students’, language Learning, Vol. 24, pp. 69–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Vann, R.J. (1978). A Study of the Oral and Written English of Adult Arabic Speakers. PhD dissertation: Indiana University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre J. L. Arnaud

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations