Autonomous Technology-Assisted Language Learning/Assessment

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Introduction[edit]

Learners engaged in ATALL may wish to periodically assess their reading, writing, listening and/or speaking ability in their L2. Such assessment can provide useful feedback on progress made and allow learners to target remaining areas of L2 weakness. In addition, learners may be able to obtain academic credit for L2 proficiency attained autonomously.

Vocabulary[edit]

Mulitingual[edit]

  • WordChamp (see review) a Web-based program that provides vocabulary exercises with assessment and record keeping in English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese as well as for user-created lists. The drills involve a flashcard based drill available to all users without charge as well as Text Translation, Listening Comprehension, Dictation, Translating Aloud, Reading Practice and Pronunciation drills (all based on single words) for premium (paying) users. Image Identification and open-ended L2->L2 tests are also available. Teachers can have custom content created based on their course materials, including audio for words and phrases.
  • The Compeat Lexical Tutor includes many tests of vocabulary in English and French. These tests can give learners of English and French a good idea of their vocabulary knowledge by providing graded tests from the most frequent 1000 words of the language to less common academic words and words that appear at the 2000 to 10,000-word levels. The Compleat Lexical Tutor can also create cloze tests in which selected words or every nth word is deleted from a text and the testee has to guess the missing word based on context and knowledge of the language.

Pronunciation and Spoken Language[edit]

Pronunciation scoring and diagnosis, often using speech recognition and related technologies, is a new means of assessment missing from traditional forms of language assessment such as the TOEFL examination.

English[edit]

  • Versant tests "are the only completely automated tests of spoken languages. Using patented speech processing technology from Ordinate, Versant tests are delivered over a telephone or on a PC and scored by computer. Once administered, numeric scores and performance levels that describe the test-taker's ability to understand and speak the selected language are generated within minutes and can be viewed online. Scores are comprised of an overall score and diagnostic sub-scores." (from website)

Low stakes[edit]

High stakes[edit]

  • Ordinate Harcourt offers high-stakes pronunciation assessment using telephone and web technology. This system is used to screen for hiring and academic admissions.

Grammar[edit]

English[edit]

  • Nonstop English [1]

Language Reconstruction Tasks[edit]

Verbatim Reconstruction[edit]

Audio to Audio: Elicited Imitation[edit]
Audio to Written: Dictation[edit]

An autonomous learner may find it useful to transcribe portions of movies with closed captions, subtitles, or audio descriptions, then compare the written transcription with the "official" version on the screen. However, the learner should be aware that captions don't always match the spoken version exactly. They're often produced from a version of the script that's out of synchronization with the actual production. See the DVD section for more information.

Written to Audio: Reading Task[edit]
Written to Written[edit]
  • Cloze Test
    • Random deletion
    • Purposeful deletion
  • Copy Test

See Cziko & Linn (1984) for dictation and copytest.

Resources[edit]

Multiple Languages[edit]

  • The Multimedia Rater Training Program (MRTP) of the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) "is a hands-on introduction to oral proficiency assessment that teachers ratings skills via CD-ROM. The Spanish MRTP is scheduled to be available in late Spring 2005, with French and German versions to follow. . . The MRTP can be used by any language professional. For example, high school and university language professionals can rate the proficiency levels of their students. . . For more information about the MRTP, contact Dr. Margaret Maleon at meg@cal.org." (CALreporter, April 2005, No. 17, p. 2).
  • WebCAPE is a web-based foreign-language placement test designed for U.S. colleges and universities by Brigham Young University.
  • WebLAS. "This is the central works-in-progress site for the Web-based Language Assessment System (WebLAS) project. The material here represent collaboration efforts of the Principal Investigator, Dr. Lyle Bachman, the Language Subject-Matter Experts, and the WebLAS Software Development Team in a joint conjunction between Applied Linguistics and the Center for Digital Humanities. Our goal here is to provide a central repository of on-going documentation, white-papers, development demos, software front-ends, and individual team member space that will facilitate communication and creative ideas among the collaborators." (from website). Languages included are English, Japanese and Korean.
  • BBC Languages Offers language proficiency tests i French, Italian and Spanish (choose the language of interest and then click on the link under "Gauge your level." The French test provides 12 questions of increasing difficulty based on reading and listening comprehension. Suggested activities are provided after the assessment.

English[edit]

  • Virtual Grammar Lab is a searchable database of links to free online English grammar study materials and activities.
  • Ordinate: "Ordinate’s Spoken English Test is the first automatic test by telephone for people who speak English as a foreign language." They are also developing tests in spoken Spanish and other languages. Free English demo test available at website.
  • Using English (Home > Testing > Language Exercises & Tests): "Welcome to our online testing section, a growing selection of free ESL exercises to test your understanding of the English language. It keeps your score and statistics about your progress which you can refer back to at any time. You will need to login before you can take any tests
  • Berlitz tests online?
  • Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab: This ESL language Web site helps ESL/EFL students improve their listening comprehension skills through practice with self-grading quiz pages. All of the quizzes are accessible from the site's home page under four categories: Short Listening, General Listening, Listening for Academic Purposes, and Long Conversations with RealVideo. Each section is sub-divided by level of difficulty: Easy, Medium, Difficult, and Very Difficult.
  • World English: It contains hundreds of html and javascript based English language exercises in most areas of English - grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing. The website is completely free and requires no registration to use any of our online activities, exercises, and tests.
  • OUC's Test Preparation: This web sites offes free access to some sample TOEIC questions. Students can test their English proficiency using these test items.
  • Churchill House: Churchill House is an English Language School accredited by the British Council. Their website contains free online material for teachers and students. Related to assessment are lessons and quizzes available for each level of English proficiency. They provide instant feedback for the quizzes. Guides for exams and certifications available in the UK for different levels are provided.
  • English Dictation Test: "English Dictation Test" is in the "English Learn". This web site offers the audio files of two different levels: Elementary and intermediate levels. A file also has the two types of audio files: natural and slow voices. In addition, this web site has many linked English dictation sites. The weak point of this test is that there is no on-line paper to take dictations. It just provides full script. Thus, learners need to prepare a piece of paper.
  • English On-Line: This web site offers a wide variety of interactive exercises (grammar, reading, writing, pronunciation...) including various kinds of dictation-like exercises - they are learning exercises, not tests: (1) An illustrated series of exercises for real beginners, (2) Real English video dictations based on interviews with ordinary people, (3) Fairy story dictations, (4) A telephone expressions dictation. There are also links to dictation exercises on other sites: (5) Movie sounds & clip dictations, Soundguide dictations of authentic British & American sentences, (6) English dictations on Nicola Dökel's Kico4U site, (7) Dictations about hotel reservations and house life. Each exercise has a space where the learners enter answers, and can instantly check their answers.
  • [2]: This web site offers 50 commonly misspelled word tests. After taking this test, testees can immediately check the answer. Furthermore, it provides some spelling tips on another page.
  • Speed Reading Test Online: This web site introduces a speed reading test program and offers a demo-program. Various functions such as "Start" and "Stop" keys, some comprehensible tests, and the description of result let autonomous learners measure their reading ability.
  • Writing Online Test: This writing online test consists of multiple-choice items to reorganize sentences to make a story. The goals of this test are to know how much (1) learners recognize appropriate organization of ideas: (2) learners recognize correct and effective sentence construction: (3) learners rocognize standard usage and appropriate word choice: (4) learners proofread for correct punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
  • English Trailers: This site offers lots of movie trailers and provides various types of listening activities such as listening comprehension and diction exercies.

Free TOEFL Practice Tests

TOEFL Listening

French[edit]

  • RFI French Listening Tests "Tester votre compréhension orale niveaux 5 et 6 dans les conditions de l'examen avec des extraits d'émissions de RFI. En partenariat avec le CIEPTester votre compréhension orale niveaux 5 et 6 dans les conditions de l'examen avec des extraits d'émissions de RFI. En partenariat avec le CIEP."

Chinese[edit]

  • Chinese-English Vocabulary Quizzes: You can find some Chinese-English vocabulary exercises in this website. Some of them are in Chinese characters and some are in pinyin.
  • Chinese Video Exercises: This website collected short video clips in Chinese. After watching each audio chip, learners can answer multiple-choice questions. Moreover, learners can also find transcripts for each clip in both Chinese and English.
  • Practical Chinese Reader Self-Test: There are 29 lessons in this website. Some lessons are games, such as matching, flash-card or concentration, for Chinese learners. Some of them are exercises for matching Chinese characters with their pinyin. There are also some grammar tests.

Japanese[edit]

  • Griffith University's Self-assessment of Japanese Listening Skills A three-level test of Japanese listening ability, with 3-5 questions per sub-level. Students are shown a picture with an audio link and given a question to answer to themselves. (There are no multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank questions.) The speech samples are quite authentic, however.

Spanish[edit]

  • Aula Virtual de Español. An adaptive test of Spanish involving vocabulary, structure, listening comprehension and reading comprehension including up to 60 items (less are offered if more items are missed). However, it provides no information on items missed (and why) and no explanation of the ranking system used.
  • Aula Diez Spanish Self-Test A very challenging 60 Question self assessment of your Spanish level. It's multiple choice and tests your reading and comprehension. There's no listening section. Everything is in Spanish.
  • Study-Spanish.org This is a 50 question self-assessment of your Spanish level. It's divided into 5 sections: Inicial, Elemental, Intermedio I, Intermedio II, and Avanzado with 10 questions per section.
  • Online Spanish On this website you can find a 54 question self-assessment of your Spanish level. It`s divided into 6 sections: Inicial, Elemental, Intermedio I, Intermedio II, Anvanzado, Superior with 9 questions per section - also you have the possibility to make an oral assessment test.
  • BBC Spanish Self-Test This is a 12 question test with items in order of increasing difficulty hosted by BBC to test your Spanish level. Two of the items involved listening comprehension. At the end of the test, it gives you suggestions on how you can improve in areas where your Spanish may not be so strong. Seems best for beginning to intermediate learners of Spanish.
  • Free Spanish Tests This is a really good site packed with different tests. The first test is an assessment of your Spanish apprehension level and is about 100 questions long. The other tests are testing your apprehension of vocabulary, verbs, subjunctive, and other grammar topics and are each 25-50 questions long.
  • don Quijote Spannish Language Test Similar to the study-Spanish site (it actually is the same set of tests), this is divided into five small tests of ten questions each. With a high enough score (not specified), the student can advance to the next level. The higher level questions start to test nuances in the language and with only 10 questions per level there is much room for measurement error. Useful explanations of errors are given in Spanish that can point the way to further study of grammar.

German[edit]

  • Goethe Institute German Proficiency Assessment Click on Test your German on the right side of the screen, under Tips. The test has 30 questions ofmultiple choice and fill in word in sentence. It gets increasingly difficult as the test continues. After completion, the test then places you into a language learning category for learning German on the Goethe Institute website, from where you can complete exercises to improve your skills.

Korean[edit]

Other[edit]

Conclusion[edit]

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References[edit]