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A Preliminary Inquiry Into Using Corpus Word Frequency Data in the Automatic Generation of English Language Cloze Tests

Issue: Vol 14 No. 2-4 (1996)

Journal: CALICO Journal

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/cj.v14i2-4.15-33


This paper outlines how a multiple choice vocabulary cloze test can be produced from a text. The process described involves assigning word class tags to the text and then retrieving word frequencies for the words in the text from an analyzed corpus. The system allows for the creation of three types of test--one based on the "nth-word deletion" principle, one based on user-specified frequency ranges, and one based on a particular word class. After the user's selection, word class and word frequency of each test item key are matched with similar word class and word frequency options to construct the test items. Analysis of tests produced by the system and administered to students indicates the potential of the computer aided test system, although the three test production modes are not equally successful in their production of "acceptable" test items with the nth-word deletion mode producing considerably fewer acceptable items than the two language oriented test production modes of specified word frequency ranges and particular word classes. The paper concludes with a discussion of the extent to which good test material can be realistically produced by computer aided systems and the different computer tools which may be of use in the process.

Author: David Coniam

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