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On the Cognitive Effect of Pre- and Post-clarification of Tasks in Listening Tests

Author: XiaoZuo
Tutor: KongDeHui
School: Northeast Normal University
Course: Subject Teaching
Keywords: Pre-clarified Tasks Post-clarified Tasks Question Preview Cognitive Effect
CLC: G633.41
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 36
Quote: 0
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Listening comprehension testing is not only a way to measure test takers’listening comprehension ability, but also a facilitative way to improve listening teaching. Basically, in terms of listening comprehension tests administration, there are two methods of listening comprehension tests: one is tests with pre-clarified tasks, and the other is tests with post-clarified tasks. With a glance into the currently important listening tests, there is not a unified way to deal with the clarification of the tasks. That is to say, some tests adopt pre-clarified tasks while others adopt post-clarified tasks. In order to figure out which way to present questions may facilitate test takers’cognitive process and elicit the best possible performance from the test takers, the author made am empirical study.The participants taking part in this study are students form one class, altogether 60 senior high school students of their junior year. The 60 test takers are labeled from number 1 to number 60. The author separated the 60 students into two groups according to their number: test takers with an odd number belong to Group A and test takers with an even number belong to Group B. The instrument of this study consists of two listening comprehension tests—a pretest and a posttest, a recall and a questionnaire.The content of the pretest is the listening tests in Collage Entrance Exam of the year 2010, the number one edition of the whole country test paper. The two groups of students take part in the pretest under exactly the same circumstance and the same administration. Some days later, the posttest is administered, in which Group A and Group B students listen to a short narrative text at the same time. The narrative text contains 20 key information points which will strongly affect the understanding of the text. At the same time the test paper contains 20 multiple choice questions which are closely related to the 20 key information points. The different arrangement of Group A and Group B is that the test takers of Group A have the chance to preview the question stems because the test papers for Group A has the question stems pointed on them, and test takers of Group A are required and supervised to look through the 20 question stems. While test takers of Group B only have the test papers with the options of each question stem printed on them, and they will get handouts displaying the 20 questions after they hear the listening material. That is to say, test takers of Group B will not know what the questions stems are until they finish listening to the listening material. After hearing the listening material of the post test and answering the questions, the test takers of Group A and Group B will be required to recall and recollect the 20 information points and write them down. The results of the test takers’recall will be marked. The higher the marks are, the better test takers memorize and understand the listening material. Then the questionnaires will be given to students to find out their attitudes towards the two types of tests.From the statistic data and the questionnaire results from the test takers in Group A (the group allows question preview) and Group B (the group doesn’t allow question preview) we can see that the test method of pre-clarified tasks and post-clarified tasks in a listening comprehension test has as a significantly difference in their effects on test takers’performance. Test takers in Group A (with question preview) performed relatively better than test takers in Group B (without question preview) in the listening posttest and remarkably better in the recall. Concerning the posttest and the recall under exactly the same circumstance and with the two different listening test methods, the pre-clarified tasks in a listening comprehension can serve as a helpful tool for test takers to facilitate their cognitive process.The thesis consists of six chapters. The first chapter is introduction, presenting the background information and the significance of this study. The second chapter is the review of the related literature, covering some concepts and principles of language testing theories. The third chapter is about the design of this study, which illustrates the research questions, subjects to be selected for the research, instruments to be used, and how data will be collected. The forth chapter deals with the results and offers a detailed discussion of this study. The last chapter is the conclusion, with major findings and implications of this study.

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