VLI 4(2): Stubbe (2015)

Replacing Translation Tests With Yes/No Tests
Raymond Stubbe
Kyushu Sangyo University
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v04.2.stubbe
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Along with personal interviews, individual word translation tests from the
target language to the mother tongue are recognized as a reliable method
of determining students’ actual lexical knowledge. However, as most
English as a foreign language teachers are aware, the marking of these
tests can be a laborious task. A far easier vocabulary testing format is the
Yes/No (YN) checklist test, which can examine a large number of words
while not over-burdening the marker. Pseudowords, which look like real
words but do not bear meaning, have been added to the YN format to
check for evidence of overestimation of lexical knowledge by test-takers.
Four scoring formulae, which adjust YN results according to the number
of pseudoword reports, have become established in the literature. Of
these, the h-f formula has become recognized as the simplest to use for
adjusting YN scores. This study presents a regression-based prediction
formula derived from the h-f results in a pilot study, which was then
applied to the YN h-f adjustments in a second study (the main study) to
predict actual vocabulary knowledge as demonstrated by a meaning recall
translation test of the same items. This prediction formula, labeled h-fRF,
was compared with another regression-based formula as well as the
original h-f formula. Results showed that 54% of the 455 individual h-fRF
predictions were within 5% (4.8 of 96 words) of matching translation test
scores, and 82% were within 10%, which were better than the other
formula predictions. These results may be of interest to classroom
teachers as they suggest that by using the h-fRF, the burden of marking
translation tests can be reduced by the far easier YN test format.

Stubbe, R. (2015). Replacing translation tests with Yes/No tests. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 4 (2), 38-48. doi: 10.7820/vli.v04.2.stubbe