A Reading Progressive Test: Assessing the Reading Ability of Upper Class Intermediate Level Students of North South University
Hasan, Lumma Maisha
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It is imperative that students, especially at the tertiary level, achieve adequate proficiency in major academic skills like reading, and writing to be able to do well in different content area courses of their choice. Thus the need for EAP (English for Academic Purpose) courses is on the rise to help students improve their academic reading and writing skills. In this regard, effective and valid testing instruments are very important to measure the proficiency level of the students, and prepare them to become effective communicators in the future. The present paper presents a test designed for 8th semester tertiary-level students followed by a discussion on test design and presentation of the findings of students’ test performance. The study, in which twenty nine students participated, tries to find a correlation between the participant’s test score and academic performance. The literature review section draws on various theoretical evidences that expand upon various aspects of the definition of reading abilities. In the study, twenty nine students of an advanced composition course participated. The results indicate that most of the items had moderate level of difficulty and discrimination, and that academic exposure has very little effect on participant’s test scores. It also reveals that three of the questions require a revision either because they lack difficulty or they simply fail to discriminate between the top and the bottom scorer. The scores of the test and test-takers’ academic exposure had little correlation. Moreover, the participants having higher academic exposure scored a little higher than the junior students which could possibly happen due to their longer exposure to teaching materials and experiences. The methodology section contains a reading comprehension with 10 MCQ questions. It is to be noted that the findings of the test can be used as washback in that they can be referred to in the future design of reading tests.
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