Testing is an important tool for the development of students' cognitive activity, improvement, consolidation, and practical application of knowledge and skills. It is an integral part of the generalized lesson, contributes to the formation of sustainable and informed knowledge, and enables each student to work at a pace that is accessible to him, with a gradual transition from one level of knowledge development to another. Therefore, the tasks for the tests are compiled taking into account the different level of preparation of students.
Nowadays the control of mastering the educational material with the help of tests increasingly attracts the attention of teachers, including teachers of foreign languages
To determine the level of training, there are different types of tests, depending on the nature of the educational material (aspect of the language).
Test tasks contain questions, the answers to which require the full use of acquired knowledge and skills and contribute to the preparation of solutions to new, more complex issues. Testing gives time to realize how much the material is learned. That is, a student in the upper grades can correct the system of his education himself. If we apply the test when fixing language phenomena, then the grammatical skill will be more durable, and using tests to check the level of skill formation we will get the most complete and real picture of the students' training, which in turn will allow to adjust and plan the further educational process in accordance with the individual level of knowledge of each student.
Tests of achievement are designed to assess the success of mastering specific knowledge, skills and more objective indicator of training than assessment. Tests of achievements are used to diagnose past experience, i.e. The assimilation of certain sections and at the same time they can to some extent predict the rate of progress of the student in the study of English, because the high or low level of mastery of knowledge at the time of testing can’t but it would be an affect at the further learning process.
Researchers of the test methodology applied to reading foreign language texts proved that tests are not only an effective monitoring tool, but also an adaptation.
Recently, the control of the assimilation of educational material with the help of tests increasingly attracts the attention of teachers, including teachers of foreign languages (however, there is no uniformity in understanding both the essence and the purposes of the tests. Therefore, it is necessary first to agree on what is meant by Test. [1, p65]
The test is considered as a form of a training task designed to determine (diagnose) the level of training and characterized by the following features: a) the simplicity of the procedure for performing, b) the standard structure, c) the fine dosage of the training material, d) the ease of feedback, e) the possibility Direct fixation of the results
Specificity of tests for reading control is as follows:
‒ first of all, the tests help to focus on extracting information with the required depth and depth;
‒ stimulating students' intellectual activity, the test requires minimal application of productive forms;
‒ the test is a good adaptation tool, since the test material itself serves as a reinforcement;
‒ facilitating and speeding up understanding, the test provides an opportunity to make great demands on the amount of reading.
I.A Rappaport rightly emphasizes that the practice of applying tests on reading and listening shows that sometimes the answers in the tests are either logically equivalent or suggest several answers, of which it is difficult to identify the most correct one. [2, p45]
It is important to choose the most acceptable form of answers to assignments. Given that the asked question should be formulated shortly, it is also desirable to briefly and unequivocally formulate the answers. For example, an alternative form of answers is convenient, when the student should emphasize one of the listed solutions «yes-no», «true-wrong». The answer options for the assignment should be, if possible, about three to five. As incorrect answers it is desirable to use the most typical errors. The main requirement of the test method is the suitability (adherence to the principles of adequacy of the test to the nature of the verified verbal activity). When drafting a test, you must always take into account the general nature of the text (most often, narrative texts are used, rich in factual material, details essential to understanding the text), strive to ensure that the tasks of the test are presented clearly, simply, provide only unambiguous answers on them. In addition, tasks should be feasible for students.
So, the development of the test requires solving a number of methodological problems:
- Define the purpose of testing (ongoing monitoring, thematic, testing of the final level of training).
- Select objects of control — knowledge, skills and abilities that need to be checked. To do this, it is necessary to conduct a methodical analysis of the educational materials of the current textbooks, the requirements of the standard or programs for compulsory learning outcomes.
- Develop a test structure, i.e. Place the selected control objects and tasks for their verification in a certain sequence — from simpler to more complex ones, and determine the form of tasks. The choice of the form of tasks is dictated by the goal and the object of testing. Test tasks of closed form (multiple, alternative choice, to establish correspondences or sequence of statements) can be used to control students' mastery of language material and to control the development of receptive communication skills. Productive communicative skills can be tested using open-form tasks (assignments for complements or with freely constructed answers).
- Select the material for the test, analyze the typical mistakes of students for selecting distractors, i.e. Incorrect answers in multiple choice tests, when it comes to language tests.
A particular difficulty is the selection of texts to test the communication skills of reading and listening. The main criteria for selecting texts for reading should be authenticity; Genre variety of texts, which will provide meaningful validity of the test, i.e. Will allow to check skills in familiarization, viewing and studying reading; Accessibility and feasibility for the subjects, i.e. Accounting for the content and linguistic difficulties of the text; Compliance of the content of the text with the installed test objects. When selecting texts for auditing, it is also necessary to take into account the auditory difficulty of the text, including paralinguistic and non-linguistic difficulties (the rate at which it is presented), the information richness of the text.
- It is necessary to determine the type and volume of the test. It is important to consider that the volume of the test depends on the class, the stage and the material itself. The final test in secondary school can be done 10–30 minutes. An equal number of tasks (for example, 20, 50, 100) is provided for the convenience of scoring.
- When preparing the test, special attention should be paid to the formulation of tasks, as well as the selection of distracts. It must be plausible, equally attractive either in form or in content.
- It is necessary to ensure that the test tasks are located in such a way that the first 20 % of tasks are the easiest, the next 70 % — the average difficulty and the final 10 % — more complicated.
- Conduct an experimental test in order to collect statistical material for the analysis of test tasks and answers to them. As a result of statistical analysis, it is concluded that they should be included in the final version of the test.
Testing of productive types of speech activity (speaking and writing) with the format of the «comment» or «essay» type for objective reasons is less reliable than testing receptive types (listening and reading) with the «multiple choice» type.
In the process of language testing, a measurement is made of both integral and discrete (selective) knowledge of the participants in their explicit (demonstrable) form. The object of language testing consists of several «evaluation categories» [3, p1–8]. Estimates for these headings are issued in accordance with the developed parameters and criteria. These parameters are necessary in order to agree on the evaluation of the executed task, taking into account, for example, the «grammatical correctness of the utterance», «the mechanistic organization of the utterance» (the appropriate use of introductory words, etc.) «logical organization of the utterance», «convincing argumentation of the statement», «optimal presentation of the statement» (tempo, clarity, etc.).
Thus, summing up all of the above, we can conclude that the tests are of great importance in teaching English language at the stage of consolidating and controlling grammatical knowledge and skills. Recently, interest in testing as an effective method of verification, which can be successfully applied in educational institutions for training, intermediate, final control is steadily growing, which is evidenced, among other things, by the fact that the Ministry of Education is currently holding numerous discussions on the topic, whether it is necessary to conduct the state final exam in English as a school-wide final test. Having studied and analyzed the methodical literature of a number of authors, their training and methodological manuals, we had the opportunity to visually see and evaluate the importance of testing in their eyes.
- Klimentenko AD, Mirolyubova AA Theoretical foundations of the methodology of teaching foreign languages in secondary schools. — M.: Pedagogika, 1981.
- Rosenkrantz M. V. The use of the test methodology for teaching the reading of texts of various functional styles in the senior classes. // Control in teaching foreign languages in high school: book. For the teacher: From work experience / Red.-sost. V. A. Slobodchikov. — Moscow: Education, 1986.
- Moskal B. Scoring rubrics: what, when, how? /' Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation. — 2000. — Vol. 7 (3). — P.1–8.