Title

The Construction of a Reading Placement Test for Korean English Language Learners Using Linguistic Modification

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts major in English Language and Literature Teaching (Option I-Thesis)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Elineth Elizabeth L. Suarez

Abstract

In the context of a hakwon (commonly known as English language center), the administration of a placement test plays a significant role in facilitating the assessment and the intervention necessary in deciding for a suitable English class that matches with the English language learners’ (ELL) linguistic level. However, this can be done if the placement test is constructed considering the unique linguistic and cultural background of the intended ELLs. In this study, a reading placement test is constructed considering the testing practices in a hakwon, the research setting of this paper. These existing and desired testing practices led to the application of the guidelines and strategies in linguistic modification, one of the types of test accommodation, in the construction of the reading comprehension questions. To make the test culturally sensible and accessible to the ELLs, varied texts were used in the application of the guidelines and strategies in linguistic modification. The constructed reading comprehension questions were validated by invited reading experts and teachers to ensure that the test questions measure what they intend to measure and pilot tested to some of the ELLs who wish to avail of academic and tutoring services available in the hakwon. The study reveals that a linguistically accessible reading placement test must be constructed considering the cultural and linguistic background of the intended students. When the test is linguistically accessible and culturally sensitive to the test-takers, their reading test scores can be used to place the students in a proficiency level or category that serves as a basis in providing the instructional intervention they need.

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