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Assessment of Listening & Note-taking Skills on EAP courses: Two Test Methods Donal Crawford International Pacific College July 2010
Content Assessment of Note-taking skills 2 methods – ‘Retrieval’ & ‘Direct’ Authenticity Practicality Reliability Validity The Way Ahead?
Notetaking Skills in EAP Note-taking skills in lectures widely seen as important component of EAP courses (Rost. 2002; Jordan, 1997; Flowerdew, 1994 a) Studies on note-taking & lecture comprehension (Flowerdew 1994 b; Rost, 1990, 2002) and published materials (e. g. Lebauer, 2000; Sanabria, 2004) Very little information on assessment of this skill (King , 1994) 2 methods used in final examination assessment within EAP Foundation Year or year 1 programmes
Retrieval Method Assessment via questions which candidates answer using their notes Procedure: Listen to recorded mini-lecture and make notes Listen again and improve notes Answer set of short-response questions using notes Marked wrt marking scheme
Direct method Assessment of the notes themselves Procedure: Listen to Section 1 of recorded lecture + Power. Point outline and make notes Repeat for Section 2 Repeat twice for Section 3 Marking: Each section of notes marked/20 based on coverage and accuracy Each section divided into 4 parts with up to 5 marks for each part. Markers meet and compare a sample of papers to agree on required levels of coverage. Marks reduced for missing and/or inaccurate information.
Authenticity Scripted Lack of visual input Repetition
Practicality Recorded vs. ‘live’ Live recording? Writing questions for Retrieval method Pre-marking meetings for Direct method
Reliability Inter-marker reliability Likely to be higher for Retrieval method Routine sampling & double-marking for Direct Inter-test reliability Likely to be higher for Direct method
Validity “The centrality of the purpose for which the test is being devised or used cannot be understated” (Alderson, Clapham & Wall, 1995) Powers (1986) key lecture listening activities: 1) identifying major themes or ideas of lectures 2) identifying relationships among major ideas in a lecture 3) identifying the topic of the lecture 4) retaining information through notetaking 5) retrieving information from notes 6) inferring relationships between information supplied in the lecture 7) comprehending key information presented in the lecture 8) following the spoken mode of the lecture 9) identifying supporting ideas and examples in the lecture.
Validity (Internal) Face (credibility) Both require students to take notes. Students certainly take the exams seriously Content Retrieval clearly tests Powers (5), and, depending on questions, (1), (6), (7), (8), (9) Dependent on lecture content, delivery & Q-setting Direct clearly tests Powers (1), (3), (8), (9) Dependent on lecture content & delivery Response – not yet considered
Validity (External) Concurrent Retrieval compared with ‘IELTS-style’ listening test, n=97, r=+0. 74 Direct data not yet available Predictive – no data
The Way ahead? Power. Point & Moodle Students often given lecture notes in advance Listening & understanding more important than notetaking (Shin, 2008) Lecture comprehension Use of notes
References Alderson, J. C. , C. Clapham & D. Wall (1995). Language Test COnstruction & Evaluation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Flowerdew, J. (1994 a). Research of relevance to second language lecture comprehension - an overview. In J. Flowerdew, editor, Academic Listening Research Perspectives (pp. 7 -29). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Flowerdew, J. (1994 b). Academic Listening Research Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Jordan, R. R. (1997). English for Academic Purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. King, P. (1994). Visual and Verbal Messages in the Engineering Lecture: Notetaking by postgraduate L 2 students. In J. Flowerdew, editor, Academic Listening Research Perspectives (pp. 219 -38). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Lebauer, R. S. (2000) Learn to Listen, Listen to Learn. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education. Powers, D. E. (1986). Academic demands related to listening skills. Language Testing 3 (1): 1 -38. Rost, M. (1990). Listening in Language Learning. Harlow: Longman. Rost, M. (2002). Teaching and Researching Listening. Harlow: Pearson Education. Sanabria, K. (2004). Academic Listening Encounters: Life in Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Shin, I. (2008). Necessary Skills in English for Korean Postgraduate Engineering Students in London. Educate - Special London Edition, September 2008, 50 -61 [online version]. http: //www. educatejournal. org