Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.
College of Liberal Arts
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
ESL, Reading, Multiple-choice, Test, Testing, Distractor
Teaching English as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL) is a multi-faceted activity for both the teacher and the students. The multiple-choice question (MC) format is a popular testing method. There is disagreement about what skills can or cannot be tested in the MC test format. The criticisms of MC testing range from guessing, to forced selection due to presented options, test-taking abilities, and others. Strong distractors will require demonstrating or applying relevant knowledge and/or skill on the part of the test taker, which ultimately contribute to the validity of the test. Test-takers could easily eliminate distractors that are not plausible. The purpose of this study is to analyze the strength of distractors in the MC questions used in various standardized tests of ESL. The tests used for this study were: 2012 California English Language Development Test - Released Questions (2012), New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test samplers (2007 and 2013), and the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment-Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (2008) sampler. The strength of distractors was examined within and across the following variables: test source, question type, and grade level. This study identified numerous tests that had high percentages of non-functioning distractors. There were some seemingly random correlations scattered within the results. The tests need to be assessed for distractor strength and validity through independent assessment. Further research into distractor strengths and development of distractor taxonomy is recommended.
Taylor, Brian E.J., "Distractor Patterns in K-12 ESL Reading Comprehension Multiple-Choice Tests" (2014). Culminating Projects in TESL. 50.