In language testing, what is a "broken sentence" item and an addition item?Please explain it to me with examples.


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kplhardison's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

"Broken sentence" items and addition items are categories of kinds of questions in language assessment tests. Some other categories of kinds of questions are multiple-choice, pairing and matching, transformation, completion, rearrangement, error-recognition, and combination.

Addition is a variation of combining. Combining tests to see if clauses or phrases can be grammatically joined together by the language student. For example, does "...because it shattered" or "which the doctor sent" combine with the matrix sentence "I ate the apple,___"? The correct combination is "I ate the apple, which the doctor sent."

So called broken sentences are complete sentences that are arbitrarily cut off. They test recognition of correct sentence structure. For example, what is the correct unification of the broken sentence "Johnny ran to ____"? Is it "the riverbank", "down the plank" or "speed the boat"? The correct unification of the broken sentence is "Johnny ran to the riverbank."

herappleness's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

Broken sentences and addition items are examples of different tasks that could appear on a test.

In language testing, the use of broken sentences is a form of slot-filling exercise that requires that the test taker completes a sentence with a fragment that makes the most sense. This being said, the broken sentence is essentially an incomplete sentence to be completed by the test taker with the correct option.

Often these broken sentences would appear in an exercise such as: 

____________ are examples of invertebrates.

a) snakes  b) lobsters  c) humans   f) dogs.

An addition item is, as the term implies, the task of adding an answer that makes sense. It could be combining sentences, filling in the blanks, or providing a short answer to a question. Also known as Cloze Tests, they feature (for example) paragraphs with several words removed. The test taker's task is to add the missing items.

The difficulty of the task will denote whether the test taker will have a word bank to choose words from, or not. These addition tasks are popular among language portions of tests such as ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Test), Reading Comprehension tests, the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and most college entrance exams. These tasks look for contextual and textual understanding of words, phrases, and meanings. 


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