Reading comprehension is defined as the level of understanding of a writing.
So, how to test reading comprehension?
There are some way to test reading comprehension based to believeable sources.
A. Specifying what the candidates should be able to do
1. Content :
These may be devided into two part,macro-skills and micro skills.
* Macro-skills are realated to needs or course objectives, they are :
- scanning text to locate specific information
- skimming text to obtain the gist
- identifying stages of an argument
- identifying examples presented in support of an argument.
* Micro-skills ,such as :
- identifying referents of pronouns
- using context to guess meaning of unfamiliar words
- understanding realation between parts of text by recognizing indicators in discourse, especially for the introduction, development, transition, and conclusion of ideas.
Then there is what would be recognized as the exercise of straight forward grammatical and lexical abilities, such as :
- Recognising the significance of the use of the present continuous with future time adverbials
- Knowing that the word “brother” refers to a male sibling
And finally, low-level operation, like distinguishing between the letters m and n, or b and d.
b. Types of Text
These might include : textbook, novel, magazine, newspaper, (tabloid or quality), academic journal, letter, timetable, poem, etc. test designers should know how best to describe the text types for their particular purposes. How they do it is less important than the thoroughness with which they identify relevant types of text.
These will obviously be related to text types, and it may not be necessary to specify further : for example we know the intended audience for quality newspaper. But textbooks, for instance, could be for school children or university student.
It may often be appropriate to indicate the range of topic in only very general term.
2. Setting Criterial Levels of Performance
In norm-references testing our interesting is in seeing how candidates perform by comparison with each other. A candidate should be expected, in principle, to score 100 per cent. But, since we know human performance is not reliable, we can set the actual cutting point rather lower, say at 80 per cent level. In order to distinguish between candidates of different levels of ability, more than one test will be required.
B. Setting The Tasks
1. Selecting Texts
Here are some ways for selecting texts
- try to select as representation a sample as possible
- include as many passage as possible
- to test scanning, look for passages which contain plenty of discrete piece of information
- choose texts which will interest candidates
- avoid texts made up of information which may be part of candidates’ general knowledge.
- Do not choose texts which are too culturally laden
- Do not use texts which student s have already read.
2. Writing Items
a. Possible Technique
- Multiple Choice
A multiple choice test item is usually set out in such a way that the candidates is required to select the answer from a number of given option, only one of which is correct.
On the Beach
Amir and Bima are SMP students. They live in
They usually go to the beach during the holidays, they can choose one from many
beautiful beaches in Indonesia.
1. What are Amir and Bima?
a. Teachers c. SMP students
b. Customers d. SMA students
the correct answer is “C”. It’s called by Multiple Choice test.
- Unique Answer
- Short Answer
- Guided Short Answer
- Summary Cloze
- Information Transfer.