What is a Cloze Deletion Test?
A cloze deletion test involves deliberately removing specific words or phrases from a passage, which then forces the reader to fill in what’s missing. By strategically leaving out certain words or phrases, students need to think about how to accurately close the gaps.
For example, one potential question on a cloze deletion test could be:
The main pigment responsible for photosynthesis in plants is _______
The answer is chlorophyll, but in reading the sentence, the reader would need to understand photosynthesis as well as how plants receive nutrition. There are a lot of clues in the surrounding text that point to the answer, but it still requires a great degree of understanding outside the context of the sentence itself to answer.
Cloze deletion tests come in a wide range of formats. Single words can be deleted or several words can be missing which tests not just their understanding on the surface but also a deeper understanding of the context being communicated.
How Do Cloze Deletion Tests Affect Readability?
With certain strategic words missing, you can imagine how cloze deletion tests can affect readability and understanding. The difficulty of what’s missing challenges learners to use quite a bit of cognitive effort to fill in the blanks, and use critical thinking skills to analyze the context in full.
Beyond the missing terms themselves, there are several other factors that can affect the readability of cloze deletion tests, including:
- Sentence structure - Complex sentences can prevent comprehension and hinder readability
- Incoherent grammar - Incoherent grammar affects readability and understanding.
- Strange syntax - Depending on the extent of the missing content, strange syntax can cause misunderstandings.
- Complexity of vocabulary - Vocabulary that falls outside of the learner’s proficiency level can cause confusion and a lack of context clues.
- Long passages of text - The longer the text, the more likely it is for the reader to stay focused and understand the overall meaning.
How To Enhance Readability in a Cloze Deletion Test
There are several ways to improve readability in a cloze deletion test without sacrificing the key objectives of learning and reading comprehension, including:
- Clear, concise sentences that promote comprehension.
- Context clues to fill in the gaps
- Enough contextual information to understand what the sentence is asking
- Appropriate vocabulary to leverages familiar, relevant words rather than causing friction and distracting the learner
Without a doubt, it’s a delicate balance to maintain the challenge of incorporating words that are engaging without being overwhelming, while matching the reader’s fluency and proficiency level.
Because readability and cloze deletion tests are so closely intertwined, it’s important to carefully consider all of the moving parts that go into creating such a test. By looking at things like sentence structure, complexity of vocabulary, surrounding context and passage length, it’s possible to create cloze deletion tests that are challenging but not overwhelming and confidence-boosting without being frustrating.
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