C-Test

C-Test MILAThe C-Test MILA generates c-tests from paragraphs of plain text. It makes generating effective, accurate tests of language proficiency so simple that anyone can do it.

It also has the option to allow learners to copy and paste paragraphs of text that they’ve chosen to generate their own tests for immediate self testing. The C-Test MILA uses a real time traffic light colour coded feedback system to guide learners’ spelling; red for the wrong letter, amber for the right letter in the wrong position, and green for the right letter in the right position. It’s not case sensitive and ignores all punctuation except for apostrophes and hyphens so that it avoids the usual frustrations of automated marking systems.

Learner instructions

  • Read the first two sentences of a paragraph of text
  • Thereafter, every other word has the second half blanked out
  • Complete the blanked out words
  • Input text is colour coded (red, amber, green) in real time as learners type
  • Results are recorded in Moodle’s grade book
  • Learners can find, copy and paste extracts of texts to check their reading level

Example of a traditional paper based c-test

A c-test is a type of language test in which students read a brief paragraph in the target language. The first two sentences are left intact. There_ _ _ _ _, every ot_ _ _ word i_ printed int_ _ _, but f_ _ each alte_ _ _ _ _ word, on_ _ the fi_ _ _ half o_ the wo_ _ is wri_ _ _ _, and t_ _ second ha_ _ is indi_ _ _ _ _ by a bl_ _ _ space repres_ _ _ _ _ _ each let_ _ _. T_ _ students’ abi_ _ _ _ to fi_ _ in t_ _ blank spa_ _ _ is tho_ _ _ _ to b_ a mea_ _ _ _ of th_ _ _ language profi_ _ _ _ _ _.

History

The C-test was developed in the 1980s at the Universität Duisburg-Essen in Germany – based on theories of language redundancy relating to Gestalt theory. The Simtest, a computerised adaptive test of foreign language ability designed and developed at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in Catalonia, Spain, uses c-tests extensively.

How good are C-Tests at determining learners’ language proficiency?

Christine Klein-Braley published a paper titled Theory of C-Test Processing in 1996. In her introduction she wrote:

In virtually all the studies thus far reported, the c-tests have been shown to be highly reliable, with alpha coefficients very often higher that .9, and to have high correlations with whatever other measure was used to represent language proficiency: teacher ratings or judgements, self-assessment procedures, and other language tests and language testing procedures. These validity coefficients have regularly reached .7 and higher. Such high validity coefficients are unusual for any type of test.

Esmat Babaii and Hasan Ansary published a research paper at Shiraz University in Tehran on an objective evaluation of the c-test.

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