Linguistic Features That May Hinder Student Understanding of Test Items

This section discusses and presents examples of linguistic features that can hinder student understanding of test items. These features are considered construct-irrelevant since, based on the judgment of content experts, they are irrelevant to the focal construct. Therefore, the purpose of this section is to further elaborate on the concept of linguistic complexity and to distinguish between language that is necessary to communicate the content and language that is irrelevant to the measurement of the focal construct.

It must also be noted that there are circumstances where the grammar in an item is too challenging to modify. In such cases, the item should be replaced with a less grammatically complex item, and we should remind ourselves to not create items in such a manner for the future and try our best to modify other parts of the item. The more we can linguistically modify items to make them easier to understand, the greater the chances of adequately gauging an ELL’s content knowledge. Examples of linguistic modification that specifically address these language concerns are discussed next.

 
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