Things You Should Know about Assessing Grammar and Lexis

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Let’s start by defining 9 important concepts:

Vocabulary: Individual words in a language.

Washback: The effect that a test has on the teaching and learning that leads to it.

Grammars: The structures that holds the language together.

Lexis: Words, phrases and expressions which make meaning blocks in a language.

Sintax: The correct order of words in a sentence to carry the intended meaning.

Communicative Approach: The principle that language is best learnt by using in meaningful activities with others.

Semantics: The meaning of a particular word or set of words.

Integrated Approach: Integrative language testing is based on the unitary trait hypothesis, which states that language is indivisible.

Discrete Approach: A discrete item is an item of language isolated from context.

Differences between Discrete and Integrated Assessment

You might be wondering what approach should you pick when assessing grammar and lexis so before you take one of these approaches consider the benefits of these two approaches.

The Discrete Approach to assessment can help you:

  1. Focus on specific areas.
  2. Undertand why students makes specific errors.
  3. Track progress against syllabus aims and objectives
  4. Make marking and scoring easier

The Integrated Approach to Assessment can help you:

  1. To make learners see what the big picture is, I  mean seeing English as a mean of communication and not as a subject
  2. Encourage students to pay more attention to communication in class.
  3. Create with ease speaking and writing tasks
  4. Focus on language instead of knowledge

Lexis – Learning the level of a word

If you want to know the level of  words within a text, you must take a look at these great vocabualry Profilers:

  1. The English Profile, The CEFR  for English
  2. Lexical Tutor – Vocabulary Profiler
  3. Vocab Kitchen – CEFR Vocabulary Profiler

All those tools will tell you the level of the words within a text based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Language or based in the General Service or Academic list.

Testing and Assessing Grammar

When working with grammar in terms of assessment, we need to be clear about whether we are interested in:

1. Syntactic knowledge of grammar, and its metalanguage: The terminology we use to describe structures and tenses.

2.Communicative use of grammar: Learners’ ability to select the appropriate structures in active language use to convey their desired meaning.



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