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Development of Cloze-Elide Tests of English as a Second Language TOEFL

Manning, Winton H.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
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Subject/Key Words:
Cloze-Elide Tests, Multiple Regression Analysis, Predictor Variables, Rating Scales, English (Second Language), Language Proficiency, Test Construction, Test Validity, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of cloze-elide tests of English proficiency for students who are similar to the TOEFL® candidate population. Cloze-elide tests used in this research consisted of exercises in which an examinee is required to edit a prose passage by eliminating extraneous words that have been randomly interspersed throughout the original text of the passage. Students enrolled in university-level intensive English language programs were administered a series of tests including, in addition to cloze-elide tests, a form of the TOEFL, a multiple-choice cloze test, a traditional cloze exercise, and an essay that was holistically scored. Students were also rated by their instructors in 12 areas of English proficiency, and the students rated their own language competency through self-assessments in ten areas. A variety of student background information was also obtained. The design of the study aimed at contributing evidence of the construct validity of cloze-elide tests. Concurrent validity information is relevant to this question, but the evidence arising from factor analyses of the intercorrelations among these many measures is more pertinent. In summary, the new cloze-elide measures demonstrated very strong concurrent validity for TOEFL and other more widely used measures of second language proficiency. The factor analyses suggest that cloze-elide tests are good, indirect measures of English language proficiency, comparing very favorably with more commonly used testing procedures. Multiple regression analyses confirmed the usefulness of cloze-elide tests, which were generally one of the two best predictors of teacher ratings of students' English proficiency.

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