History[ edit ] From a letter of Philip II, King of Spain, 16th century In scholarly writing, an important objective of classifying sources is to determine their independence and reliability. For example, these ideas may be used to trace the history of scientific theories, literary elements and other information that is passed from one author to another. In scientific literaturea primary source is the original publication of a scientist's new data, results and theories. In political historyprimary sources are documents such as official reports, speeches, pamphlets, posters, or letters by participants, official election returns and eyewitness accounts.
See the software for automated testing of spoken English produced by Versant. Reading At a basic level it is simple to assess reading comprehension in much the same way as it is possible to assess listening comprehension, e.
If well designed, this form of assessment works effectively and instant feedback can be offered to the student, which has a beneficial effect on learning. The main ways of assessing reading skills can be summarised as follows: Multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and fill-in-the-blank tests with single-words or very short sentences, but these types of tests cannot easily assess more open-ended aspects such as the ability to infer; and in multiple-choices tests students can get the answers right by guesswork.
Completely open-ended answers cannot be assessed.
Single-word answers or answers consisting of very short sentences can be assessed to a limited extent. More extended reading tasks are harder to set on computer. On-screen reading of longer texts is in any case inadvisable.
Web guru Jakob Nielsen writes: Even users who don't know this human factors research usually say that they feel unpleasant when reading online text. As a result, people don't want to read a lot of text from computer screens: We also know that users don't like to scroll: Instead, users scan text and pick out keywords, sentences, and paragraphs of interest while skipping over those parts of the text they care less about.
Writing for the WebAlertbox, 15 March More recent research by Nielsen, in which the iPad and Kindle were examined, showed that The iPad measured at 6. However, the difference between the two devices was not statistically significant because of the data's fairly high variability.
Thus, the only fair conclusion is that we can't say for sure which device offers the fastest reading speed. In any case, the difference would be so small that it wouldn't be a reason to buy one over the other. But we can say that tablets still haven't beaten the printed book: See Nielsen's other articles on Writing for the Web.
Extended texts are more likely to be print-based unless they are in hypertext format, i. In the case of hypertext, the computer may be a suitable medium for assessing information-gathering techniques.
The skills needed to track down documents, follow links within and between them and find specific extracts are of increasing importance in academic life, in commercial settings and in leisure time.
These skills are, to an extent, generic rather than specific to any given language although learners do need to know key terms involved in searching for information.
Many teachers are aware of the need to ensure that learners are equipped with the appropriate language skills for Web browsing, e. Writing Limited assessment of writing skills is possible. It is fairly straightforward to program computers to assess the accuracy of single words and short sentences typed at the keyboard, and work on parsing students' typed responses, diagnosing errors and providing appropriate feedback is in progress - see Section 8 in Module 3.
There are also features in modern computer software that can be used within the assessment process, such as spellcheckers to enable self-assessment of spelling, and also grammar and style checkers, which - although still imperfect - do pick up many errors that students can use to self-correct, such as errors of gender or number: As for assessing continuous pieces of text, some progress has been made in developing programs that can roughly grade short essays.The longman academic writing series level 4 answer key.
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