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Volume 17 Number 2, Summer 2020, Pages 319-757 PDF Download

Doable and Practical: A Validation Study of Classroom Diagnostic Tests

    Boh Young Lee & Sang-Keun Shin

Although many benefits are claimed for diagnostic testing, it is utilized far less than assessments for other purposes. This study produced classroom diagnostic tests in the areas of vocabulary and grammar, in both paper-and-pencil and computer-based formats, and utilized them in high school English-as-a-foreign-language instruction. Evidence was collected to investigate whether three hypothesized claims about the advantages of diagnostic testing asserted in the literature are valid. The results showed that students' academic achievement increased when the results of instructional unit-based diagnostic tests were used to offer remediation. Although no differences in student achievement were found to result from the mode of diagnostic testing, the efficiency of diagnostic testing was greatly increased by automatic scoring and data analysis functions of the computer-based mode. A survey on the usefulness of diagnostic testing showed that when it was used, learners had higher levels of satisfaction with English instruction. However, the participants reported that when diagnostic testing pointed toward significant shortfalls in lexical knowledge, their confidence declined. Lastly, the students indicated that computer-based diagnostic testing has the advantage of being able to provide immediate feedback.

Keywords: diagnostic testing, computer-based tests, automatic scoring, feedback