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The term test task has got several deﬁ nitions in the scientiﬁ c methodological literature, they are: test method,
exact differentiation in their meaning. Very often the term’s deﬁ nitions imply its different parameters, and this is
the reason for some authors to differentiate the usage of the terms in their papers phosphoric acid . For example,
‘Language Testing Terms Multilingual Glossary’ treats any ‘testing point’ as ‘testing task’ if it is evaluated by
the grades. The following deﬁ nition is given in , it reads as follows: ‘’test task – is a minimal test unit, which
supposes the deﬁ nite verbal or un verbal reaction of the tested student. Brown J.D. deﬁ nes the test task in his
own way: ‘’test task is a minimal ingredient part of the test unit which presents a meaning and clear information
after the stage of the objective and subjective evaluation is ﬁ nished’’ . And further: “it bears the idea that the
test meaning may be fully evaluated only after its pilot stage, evaluation, and statistical processing”. As a result
we may state that the task which seemed suitable for the test in reality doesn’t differentiate between the poor and
The tests should be clearly understood. Native language can be used in questions. Such questions as resume,
answer evaluation criteria should be determined beforehand.
The students under study should be acquainted with the task format, it should take into consideration the
Achievement or progress test provides for the level of mastering of a deﬁ nite language material by the students,
checks the speech skills and habits formation for a deﬁ nite period of time. It should fully reﬂ ect the types of the
text, exercises, and tasks that were performed in class.
Placement test and entry test should include such texts and task types that the students will come across in
the future instruction period. For example, the developers are to compile a test for the entering examination to the
magistrates. So, they are to work with the academic texts, enhancing the skills and habits of working with the
information of this type. So, the texts for the test examination should be taken from the textbooks, incorporating
similar themes, which will be used in the given institution; the types of the test tasks should correspond to the work
types which will be fulﬁ lled in the course of instruction. They may be the tasks connected with the skills to resume,
to analyzing, to annotate, to ﬁ ll the tables, to interpret the schemes.
As far as the general requirements to the tests are concerned they are as follows:
Only skills and habits referring to the measured construct are tested. For example, if the reading skill
not include the written speech skill evaluation;
Each test task measures only one skill;
Test task content supposes one answer, and if there are variants of the multiple choice they should have one
The question should sound in such a way that the examinee can answer it only on condition that he understood
should treat any distractions as the most possible answer; that in the correct answer it is forbidden to include such
tasks into the test that can be answered without reading the text.
What is the deﬁ nition of efﬁ ciency in engineering? ,
It is clear that the c) and d) distracters mean one and the same, b) distracter is uncertain from logical point of
view. Consequently, the a) variant remains, and as we can see it can be guessed without reading the text;
Questions shouldn’t include more difﬁ cult lexis than the text itself. It is undesirable that the students’ word
One should avoid asking questions which have more than one meaning. For example, one shouldn’t use
variants. The student under study may treat it as uncertain. Many testologists also have an opinion that it is
undesirable to use such answer variants as one of the above, all of the above, A and B only in the distracters:
Alyssa ordered a sandwich and had the following ingredients on it:
Tuna ﬁ sh,
Both A) and B);
Negation in the manual should be highlighted, for example:
The task should not bear ‘unintended helpers. For example,
According to the passage she was praised by her contemporaries as an_____________
As the article an supposes only one possible answer variant, it is considered to be an unintended helper.
If the correct answer is distributed from all distracters visually as the longest or the shortest answer, it will
attract the student’s under study attention, and he can choose it according to this characteristics. In this case we
may state that the developer has allowed for the unintended helper .
He began to chocker while he was eating ﬁ sh.
c) be unable to breathe because of something in his windpipe
d) grow very angry.
In this example the correct answer © is not only the longest in comparison with the others, but it also stylistically
stands apart from the other answers. Oller J.W. suggests , that if there is an antonym in the distracters, the
shrewd students can guess that the choice has decreased to two answers.
In the opening paragraph the phrase ‘unequally balanced between this world and the next ‘refers to the fact
that Oliver appears to be
more alive than dead
more dead than alive
about to lose his balance
in an unpleasant mental state
One more example of the unintended helpers – this is the inclusion of the clearly untrue or humorous variants.
let’s stop at this restaurant for a quick ____________.
A – C answers are considered to be ineffective distracters; their usage doesn’t only simplify the task but also
lowers its validity and safety as an instrument of a deﬁ nite skill formation measuring.
One should also try to avoid the formal mistakes:
the correct answer is always placed in the C) and D) variants, or if the scheme of the correct answers
a part of answers starts with the verbs, and apart – with the nouns;
the compiler forgets include the correct answer;
the compiler uses the word with the negative meaning in the task base, and gives the direct negation in
All of the following are correct procedures for putting out a ﬁ re in a pan on the stove EXCEPT:
Do not move the pan.
Pour water into the pan.
Slide a ﬁ tted lid onto the pan.
Turn off the burner controls .
The word except in the task base enters the double negation with the variant DO not move the pan. Such kind
of mistakes are very often when the words without, hardly, unlikely are used.
Excessive information using in the task is also a formal mistake, it distracts the student’s under study attention
of the question essence, prolongs the process of the information processing, lowers the task efﬁ ciency. Brown
(2:18) suggests the following examples:
The main advantage of this system is in the fact that it helped to create many-track data route.
The main advantage of this system is in the fact that it supports the development of new projects (4).
This task may be considerably shorter and more effective if we’ll withdraw the excessive information:
The main advantage of this system is in the fact that it
serves as a means of surviving nuclear attacks.
doesn’t allow numerous users to share a communication line.
helped to create many-track data route.
According to the practical experience one shouldn’t place the task on one page and the answers variants on the
other. This is also one of the most typical formal mistakes.
It should be noted that the students under study very often get use of the mistakes made in the process of the
test compiling. Special digests are published abroad, which assist in working with the tests. These digests have got
the title ‘test wizens’ in the foreign test logy.
The essence of these skills lies in the fact that the student under study uses the special characteristics of
the control test form to get a higher grade, than he deserves. He may use of the unintended helpers made by the
test developer, or he may choose the correct answer by consequent excluding of the least true variants as in the
case with the searching of the correct answer to the question What is the deﬁ nition of efﬁ ciency in engineering?
Given skills and strategies are the parts of the general test strategies. They are actions and operations used
by the student under study to improve the test tasks results. Numerous investigations have proved that the skills
of using the test strategies inﬂ uence the test results; that is why it is difﬁ cult to assure that the test we are using
measures only those skills and habits it has been developed to measure. Very often the students under study who
possesses the test strategy skills is more successful than a more advanced students who is afraid to use the test
strategies or doesn’t possess them.
The interest to study the thinking, psychological and other processes used by the student under study have
started increasing since the end of the 1970s, and by the beginning of the 90s the statement about the necessity of
their study and accounting was ﬁ xed in every textbook.
1. Alderson J.C. Addressing Reading. – Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
2. Brown J.D. Testing in Language Programs: a Comprehensive Guide to English Language Assessment. – NY:
3. Urguhart S., Weir C. Reading in a Second Language: Process, Product and Practice. – London and New
York: Longman, 1988.
4. Oller J.W. Langauge Tests at School: A Pragmatic Approach. – London: Longman, 1979.
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