ESL Reading Test Development and Analysis

Hyojung Lim, Young-Shin Kwon

Abstract


The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of ESL reading test development and analysis in the context of a small-scale ESL classroom. We created 12 multiple-choice items for an ESL reading mid-term exam, administered the test in the Community English Program at Teachers College in fall 2008, and analyzed the test results to evaluate the reliability and validity of the test. We first describe the nature of reading ability by reviewing the literature on second language reading and reading assessment. Based on a widely shared definition of reading ability, we suggest a theoretical construct of reading ability and relevant observable variables. Following Bachman and Palmer (1996), this paper provides practical guidance for language teachers with regard to how to create reading test items and assess the test quality from describing the target language use (TLU) domain and task types, developing a test design statement, generating the blueprint for test operationalization, coding multiple choice items, to conducting item and distractor analyses. Issues revolving around L2 reading test development are further discussed.

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