LREC 2010

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Abstract: In this paper we discuss the methodology behind the construction of elicited imitation (EI) test items. First we examine varying uses for EI tests in research and in testing overall oral proficiency. We also mention criticisms of previous test items. Then we identify the factors that contribute to the difficulty of an EI item as shown in previous studies. Based on this discussion, we describe a way of automating the creation of test items in order to better evaluate language learners' oral proficiency while improving item naturalness. We present a new item construction tool and the process that it implements in order to create test items from a corpus, identifying relevant features needed to compile a database of EI test items. We examine results from administration of a new EI test engineered in this manner, illustrating the effect that standard language resources can have on creating an effective EI test item repository. We also sketch ongoing work on test item generation for other languages and an adaptive test that will use this collection of test items.

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