Sunday, October 21, 2007

Reliability in once-off tests 3

Topic: Validity and reliability - issues and discussion Date: 4 December 2006 9:08 PM
Subject:Reliability in once-off tests Author: Mondy, Steven

Unfortunately, the speed reading is only a unit within a more general course on reading skills, the purpose of which is to increase students ability in gaining information more efficiently. The book I've enlisted is "More Reading Power", which has a series of reading passages in it (all roughly the same length and complexity). Each of the readings can/should be done within a five minute time span. It has lists of reading time to words/minute and a graph for students to plot their own reading time. The onus is on the student themselves to do the comprehension without cheating, mark their own papers, and record all information.
The activity has worked, but I recommend strongly that it be used with high intermediate~advanced students anyway (who are more likely to be motivated to doing the activity).
As for assessment, I'm still struggling on that one. As it is a skill that I want them to improve, I consider their achievements in increasing their comprehension to reading speed a key factor. This is where some kind of criterion referenced list (as a rubric) may come into play to see if each student has 1. been able to improve and 2. If students have achieved a certain level of proficiency.
I'm still juggling what to do, but luckily I still have time (with the approach of our winter vacation).
Hope that I have shed some light on how I approach or plan to approach speed reading.
As for more standardized tests that you are referring to, I can just say that lots of practice may be the key. In those practice tests, you can show students visually on their graphs, and this may give them the motivation to soldier on. You may need to think very carefully about the material you're teaching in close relationship to the students actual abilities, and think about how to test to increase positive results in the students minds. We can't just rely on intrinsic motivation (within the students), but look at giving them an outside reason to be motivated. This may have to be a step by step process, somewhat like a reward system, however, the rewards may need to be made explicit, in terms of concrete visual pictures (graphs and so forth). Do I make any sense? I think I may have just babbled and not really synthesized what I actually mean...!
Steven Mondy

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