‘Computer-Based Language Testing for GES 100 (Communication Skills in English) in UNIPORT: Is it Appropriate and Effective?’ – Umera-Okeke, Nneka

Abstract

Most tertiary institutions in Nigeria have adopted computer-based testing for their General Studies (GES) courses. Reasons given range from ease of administration, problems of large class, ease of marking as computer does everything, and so on. This can be said to be a step in the right direction as it agrees with the government’s intention to ensure computer literacy among school leavers and university graduates. Computer-assisted language test, however, is still questioned by many especially of its validity. The question is, is it achievable? Is it appropriate? Can it be effectively used in language testing? This paper is a descriptive evaluative one looking into the meaning of computer-based test, the tenets/components of computer language testing especially as used in testing GES 100 the University of Port Harcourt. The paper also evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of computer-based testing vis-a-vis the traditional paper-and-pencil testing. The challenges to its full adoption as a testing technique in the university were also highlighted and suggestions made.

Index Terms: Computer-based testing (CBT), computer-assisted language testing (CALT), paper-based testing (PBT), computer-adaptive language test (CALT)

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‘An Exploration of Sources of Foreign Language Listening Comprehension Problems from University Student’s Perspectives’ – Mansooreh Mallah, Khadijeh Jafari & Seyyed Hassan Seyyed Rezaee

Abstract

In spite of the importance of listening as the most challenging skill for students, there is less research about listening problems of EFL learners as compared with other language skills. The aim of this study, therefore, was to examine Iranian EFL students’ listening comprehension problems from students’ point of views. Fifty male and female students studying English at Islamic Azad University of Gorgan, Golestan Province, Iran voluntarily took part in this study. A teacher-made questionnaire with 26 items on students’ listening problem was developed. The results of questionnaire indicated that listener-related factor (e.g., lack of concentration, long texts and existence of noise) was the main source of listening comprehension problem among these students. The second source of problems related to speaker included bad accent and existence of hesitation in spoken text. The third groups of problems related to the content of listening text included unfamiliarity with topic, feeling fatigue while listening to long texts, and difficulty in understanding the idioms; and the last source of problem was related to linguistic features such as not distinguishing the word boundaries and the signals of changing from one point to another point. The findings of the present research may raise both students’ and teachers’ awareness regarding university EFL students’ listening comprehension problems.

Index Terms: listening comprehension problems, EFL students

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‘Critical Thinking Skills Instruction and Reading between the Lines’ – Hossein Pourghasemian & S. Mohammad Bagherzadeh Hosseini

Abstract

Critical thinking (CT) is an important life skill in modern societies and is of particular import in academic settings where students need to be able to analyze ideas to get at clear understanding. However, unlike ordinary thinking, which is an inborn human endowment, CT seems to require implicit or explicit instruction. Attempts have been made to introduce it into general education. And like any other innovation, it has found its way to second language pedagogy. Hence, there have been studies to relate CT to second language acquisition (SLA) in general and language skills in particular. This study set out to see if training in CT skills had any effect on the inferential reading comprehension. Sixty college students were selected through a proficiency (TOEFL) test and were then randomly assigned to two equal sized groups: critical and noncritical. Both groups received reading comprehension instruction, but the critical group got supplemental in CT skills. A specially tailored reading test was administered to measure the participants’ inferential understanding. The results indicated that the critical group outperformed the noncritical group t (58) = 3.27, p > 0.5. The implication for language teaching may be either adoption of a critical orientation to teaching, or adaptation of CT skills to fit the language class.

Index Terms: critical thinking, inferential reading comprehension, second language acquisition.

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‘Error analysis of the Grammatical Patterns in the English Translation of the Abstracts of the Persian Articles in the Iranian Published Academic Journals’ – Forouzan Dehbashi Sharif & Mehdi Hassani

Abstract

The present study aimed to shed light upon the grammatical errors in the English translation of the abstracts of the Persian articles in the Iranian Published academic Journals to discover to what extent the English abstracts of the Persian articles in the Iranian Published academic Journals completely follow the English grammatical patterns. In this regard, The Persian abstracts and their English translations from selected journals were extracted as the corpus of this study. The errors in the corpus were identified and classified into the Syntactico-Morphological category according to Keshavarz’s (2011) model. The results of this research showed respectively that errors in the use of articles, lack of concord or agreement, wrong use of plural morpheme, errors in the use of prepositions, wrong use of parts of speech were repeated in most of the Persian translated articles. In testing the null hypothesis of this research, there was a significant difference between the rates of the grammatical errors in the English translation of the abstracts of the Persian articles in the Iranian published academic Journals based on a selective taxonomy of error analysis model.

Index Terms: Academic journal , Abstract, grammatical errors.

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