Vicki Bos, UQ-ICTE
Perfect Match: Writing 'Matching' Type Items for Listening Assessment

It is challenging to write ‘matching’ items for a listening test. We see matching activities all the time in text books, but their use for assessment can be problematic. How do we know we are effectively assessing listening comprehension, and not simply testing an ability to hear words in a particular order? There are many ideas to keep in mind, such as setting up cues, the length of each potential ‘match’, the plausibility of the set of options, paraphrasing, ordering and distraction, while keeping the discourse natural-sounding. The overall goal of the assessment must be kept in mind: the item and script need to be challenging enough to test the listener’s communicative competence, while making it clear that only one of the options is the ‘perfect match’.

In this interactive workshop, we will examine how to write ‘matching’ item types, and their accompanying scripts, for listening tests on academic programs. We’ll start by looking at some pointers for writing this type of item, then move into the hands-on part of the workshop, where we’ll put the tips into practice by writing our own items. This will be followed by writing the scripts to go with our items. It is expected that by using the pointers as a guide, participants will experience the process involved in writing effective items for listening assessment, and come away with a greater understanding of how to devise not only valid, reliable listening tests, but also matching type listening activities for the classroom.

Vicki Bos has been a TESOL language teacher and teacher trainer at the Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education at The University of Queensland (ICTE-UQ) since 2001. She has a wide variety of English teaching experience, and has worked in language education contexts in Australia, Japan, Chile and Macau. She currently works mainly as a teacher trainer, conducting courses in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and English & Methodology for Teaching Purposes (EMTP) for educators. She has extensive experience writing listening assessment items and scripts for a variety of in-house and externally standardised tests.