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Validation Study of Translation Items in CET4

Author: ZhangGeXin
Tutor: LiXin
School: Northeastern University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: CET4 translation test validity research
CLC: H319
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2009
Downloads: 74
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Abstract


College English Test Band Four (CET4) is a large-scale, high-stake test designed for non-English major students who have met with or surpassed the basic requirements for undergraduate College English teaching. The objective is to develop students’ability to use English in an all-round way, especially in listening and speaking, so that in their future work and social interactions they will be able to exchange information effectively through both spoken and written channels. To ensure the exact judgment of candidates’proficiency in English and the positive backwash on their learning, it is vital to guarantee a high validity. The main focus of the present study is placed on the validation of translation items of CET4. The approach adopted in the study is a combination of theory with practice.Firstly, the paper makes a brief theoretical exploration on validity and validation of language testing, holding that validity is the primary concern in test interpretation and use with its significance running through the entire process of test construction and evaluation. The paper goes on to describe the purpose and characteristics of translation in CET4. The purpose of translation test, as a kind of subjective, integrative and direct test, is to test the students’ability to render versions from their first language to the target language and to comprehend and express themselves in English and Chinese. Then, the paper analyzes in detail the face, construct, content and response validity of the translation items in CET4 using qualitative approach. The instruments employed include questionnaire, the testing syllabus and Bachman’s framework of test method facets, etc.The main findings emerged from this study of validity of CET4 translation test are as follows:Firstly, translation test in CET4 turns out to be an effective test, which is widely accepted by large numbers of students. Secondly, three abilities are tested in the translation test:understanding ability, expressive ability and basic knowledge on translation. Through inter-correlation analysis, the writer finds that the construct validity of CET4 translation is acceptable. Thirdly, this study has shown that the content of translation in CET4 reflects the main requirements in the testing syllabus and reached a satisfactory content validity.However, the study also highlights a number of problems affecting the realization of content validity and tries proposing ways to solve these problems during the study. The first problem is that the test instruction is far from comprehension. In my opinion, basic information such as criteria for correctness should be added in the test instructions. Moreover, I propose making the syntax and structures of translation part more diverse in order to test the candidates’translation competence. Last but not the least, after careful analysis of the new translation items, I think there is a gap between the testing syllabus and curriculum requirements, and the weight of the translation part does not conform to the requirements for the translation competence required by the modern society. Moreover test results are only a partial misinterpretation of translation competence and will mislead the translation teaching as well. Therefore, with the purpose of cultivating the college students’translation competence, the designing of the translation items can be more diversified such as True/False questions, Correction, Conditional Translation or Unconditional Translation, Confined Translation or Translation of the Underlined Sentences Items and the testing forms can be English to Chinese or Chinese to English Translation.This thesis hopefully is of some practical value, intending not only to investigate the validity of translation in CET4, but also to offer some clues that may help English teachers and authorities to have a further and comprehensive understanding of validity, and realize its importance in actual testing practice (test designing, test administration and test evaluation).

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CLC: > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Language teaching
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