Are Distractors That Include Words in Passages Attractive?: An Experiment in Reading Tests for L2 Learners

[Speaker] Terao, Takahiro:1
[Co-author] Ishii, Hidetoki:1, Noguchi, Hiroyuki:1
1:Nagoya University (Japan)

This study examines how overlaps of words between key sentences and distractors affect the attractiveness of distractors in reading tests of English. The three types of distractors were as follows: negation, antonym, and causal misunderstanding. Two question types could moderate this effect: the lower-level question (focusing on key sentences) and higher-level question (focusing on structure of paragraphs). Each of the 460 Japanese undergraduates took one of eight booklets, which included questions that implemented overlapping and question types. Multinomial logistic regression analysis revealed that two-way interaction (proficiency group×overlapping×question types) was significant. Residual analysis demonstrated that in lower-level questions, participants with lower proficiency chose negation and antonym distractors with overlapping words while higher proficiency participants chose negations with non-overlapping words. In contrast, we obtained the opposite result in higher-level questions. Overlapping words may be one of the many important considerations when item writers create distractors in reading tests.
Advanced Search