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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:20 am 
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I've unexpectedly found myself DIYing this time round with 5 months to go and have been looking at generating CEM-style Cloze tests (i.e. a passage of text with some words removed, 3 or 4 choices of word are provided for each of the gaps). There are a few free software packages around that will claim to generate a Cloze from a piece of text but none of these will generate anything resembling a CEM Cloze.

After a bit of searching, I ran across the following which gives some insight into how to go about it. It's about English as a foreign language but it reflects what I'd expect a CEM test to be looking at. [Don't bother to read it (it's a bit dry...but there are some useful example tests from page 85 onwards which are worth recycling)]:

http://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/RR-88-02.pdf

Summarising what it has to say, there are four aspects that can be tested:

1. Vocab based on information within the same clause, for example:

"In fact, there are folk songs for many occupations - railroading, [following/mustering/concentrating/herding] cattle."

2. Syntax within the clause - i.e. based on a few words either side of the gap:

"It is generally understood that a ballad is a song that tells a story, but a folk song is not so [easy/easily/ease/easier] defined.

3. Vocab based on information across clauses/sentences:

"...known as the Lost Sea. It is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest underground [water/body/lake/cave]."

4. Syntax across clauses/sentences:

"A ballad is a folk song; however, a folk song is not a ballad [because/if/whether/unless] it tells a story."

After some trial and error, it seems to me to be fairly easy to create examples of 1 and 2, a little harder to create examples of 3, and 4 is really quite hard - it seems to depend on very careful choice of a suitable passage with plenty of description, compound sentences and the like. (As far as I can determine from past threads, the ones that are mentioned after the exam are probably type 3; that may or may not mean that the test is mostly composed of those - it may just be that they're easier to remember.)

Has anyone else tried this, if so what are your experiences/insights and what are your opinions on how to go about it?

Mike


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:42 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
Thanks for this analysis Mike - it is a help!

I did spend some time developing some terrible cloze tests for my son last year. Problem is, despite my efforts at providing challenge he found them pretty easy - mine just didn't stretch him enough, as at the time, I'd just had a baby and couldn't think straight myself!
Sorry if that doesn't provide much insight - perhaps if I'd sat down with a big dictionary and thesaurus that would have helped though.
I did trawl the net and found that very little was available.
This time round I will hopefully have time to sit down and develop some better ones - your post has helped.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:14 pm 
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I've only just started looking at this so I'm not well placed to offer advice, but from reading a few bits on the internet I think the general advice seems to be:

(a) Find the right passage - descriptive, no dialogue, and (quite important) pitched at an appropriate reading level.

(b) Use a thesaurus to help find "wrong" words to include (see, you were right!).

(c) Know why you're bothering to do it. As they always say, you don't fatten a pig by weighing it, that's especially true if you don't know what you're measuring (i.e. that's where the vocab/syntax stuff is helpful - otherwise you're just wasting your own time!). Saying that, I'm thinking of these mainly in terms of familiarisation with the format and as a fairly lightweight activity amongst all the maths and vocab. (That probably means the passage also has to be quite interesting.)

A Hong Kong company publishes something that might help (FreePress: MC Cloze F4-5 and MC Cloze Advanced). They seem to use phrases rather than the single words I'd expect from CEM, and personally I don't want to buy anything online from HK (unsatisfactory Ebay experiences!), but if anyone wants to follow it up Google the Hong Kong Book Centre. They're secondary school level, so I should imagine they're pitched at around the right reading age for the KE exam:

http://www.freepress.com.hk/pdf%20files/MC%20Advance/M_C_Adv_intro.pdf

(It won't print, unfortunately!)

Mike


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:56 pm 
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am sure I found some fabulously absurd ones on-line when doing this. Turgid stuff about fjords in Norway and mining opportunities in S Africa and long-dead minor kings. Just Googled cloze and up they all came. Then I copy and pasted and checked they made sense (not all do) and Bob's your uncle.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:14 pm 
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Hi Milla. There are an awful lot of cloze tests on the internet (awful is the operative word in many cases!). Personally, I don't think there's very much that's suitable for 11+ prep (certainly not enough to make it worth wading through the dross). That's not an issue in itself - it's only a form of vocab/comprehension test after all. However, I want to specifically include some multiple choice cloze tests (amongst other things) and I haven't seen anything online that resembles what I want.

Mike


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:05 am 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
I don't think you'll find anything that resembles CEM assessment online. I remember googling a couple of years ago only to find material designed for students learning English as an additional language! I suppose it was a case of resorting to making your own and taking comfort in the fact that they'll do the job just as well. :|

Recently I have found a set of cloze books by George Moore that feature extracts from both fictional (classics to contemporary prose) and non-fictional text. You'll still need to edit them to resemble CEM assessment. But if you have a child's whose forte isn't spelling, vocabulary and comprehension, or your own sheets are too challenging at the moment, then it's a good starter.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:48 am 
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Is that Contemporary Cloze?

I'm intending to recycle the passages from comprehension tests - it should save a lot of effort trying to find things at the right reading level. You don't need very much text to get 7-10 deletions.

Mike


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:08 am 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
Yes, that's one of them.

Using KS 3 Comprehension texts is useful. I did some for DS1 a couple of years ago. You could also make them up from newspaper articles and magazines like N_ t_ _ n_ _ G_ _ g_ _p_ _ _ and others like _q_i_ a.

Perhaps we could all can share notes and produce a sticky? But bearing in mind that it maybe a case of hit and miss :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:21 am 
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A sticky would be a really good idea but I'm nowhere near knowing what will work; Miss 1880 will be trying out my first ones this week and I'm expecting a few weeks trial and error before I know whether it's worth continuing.

Good point re: newspapers etc.

Mike


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:03 pm 
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Hi Mike,

Just to add our experience to the discussion. Knowing the format of KE cloze from my daughter's experience in 2008, I realised how difficult this part would be. Hence, although my son went to a tutor who gave cloze tests of reasonable difficulty I wanted to really challenge my son! I took mainly historical texts from a text book I have at home on themes such as Ancient Greece, the Romans, Egyptians, Vikings ( came up 2 consecutive years)

It was laborious and tedious for me but I typed up these passages and took out many letters from many words as don't forget this has been the KE style. Queen Mary was the "choose from 4 options "type cloze.

Anyway, he initially struggled but once into the swing greatly improved. He said post test that my "mocks ups" had been much harder than the actual test but they had been great practice.
Incidentally, the book I used was "Everyday Life Through The Ages" a Readers Digest volume.
Sometimes used articles from Sunday Times.
Hope this helps


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