Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.
The Cloze Procedure
The cloze procedure, also called the cloze readability test, is a technique in which words are deleted in a passage to create blanks. Students must then fill in these blanks with appropriate word choices, sometimes provided in a word bank. The procedure can be incredibly useful for assessing students in various reading comprehension and grammar skills. You can use the procedure to target different skills depending on which words you delete from a passage.
This lesson will show how you can use the cloze procedure to assess various skills, including examples of passages that target those skills.
Using the cloze procedure to assess vocabulary is as simple as deleting the targeted vocabulary words from the passage. Since you are targeting specific words, you may need to write the passage yourself instead of finding a passage that includes all of the vocab words of the study unit and deleting choice terms. When writing your own passage, make sure it is readable by your students. If the students can't read your passage, they will likely not be able to fill in the blanks, even if they know the vocabulary words.
The following passage was written to test students' knowledge of the words 'famous,' 'rumor,' 'wealthy,' and 'crowd.'
Jennifer Lawrence is a (blank) actress. She has acted in many well-known movies. Everyone loves her and there is always a (blank) at her new movies. Acting in these movies has made her very (blank). I heard a (blank) that she owns four houses!
When using the cloze test to assess vocabulary, make sure that the sentences contain enough context clues for students to use to figure out which words to fill in the blank. This assessment will measure a student's retention of vocabulary words and their definitions as well as their ability to use context clues in a passage. A word bank may also be used, but it is optional.
Assessing Grammar Skills
Assessing grammar using the cloze procedure works similarly to doing so for vocabulary assessment. However, in this case, you can easily use a pre-written passage and delete words instead of writing your own. The cloze assessment is often used to measure whether students understand parts of speech and sentence structure. To create a cloze passage, delete the words or parts of speech that are the targets of the assessment, such as nouns, verbs, or adverbs.
For instance, the following passage evaluates students' abilities to correctly use adjectives. There can be several different answers per blank. Answers are correct as long as they are an adjective that makes sense in the sentence.
There once was a very (blank) king. He and his (blank) subjects loved their kingdom. One day, a (blank) witch visited the king and his (blank) daughter. They were afraid, but the witch was actually a (blank) witch, and just wanted to say, 'Hi'. The End.
In the above example, students need to look at the sentences in order to understand what kind of word they need to use to fill in the blank. In this passage, there are nouns and verbs in the sentences, and all of the missing words should be adjectives. The test helps you to assess their knowledge of adjectives and their ability to identify which words are adjectives. Many different words can be correct, as long as they are all adjectives.
Assessing Reading Comprehension
In order to assess general reading comprehension skills, your cloze passages should have words deleted from them in a pattern. For example, after you've found a grade-level appropriate passage, go through and delete every 5th word. By deleting random words in a pattern, you can assess a student's ability to use context clues and sentence structure knowledge to fill in the blanks.
The passage below is an example in which every 5th word is deleted:
In order to assess (blank) reading comprehension skills, your (blank) passages should have words (blank) from them in a (blank). For example, after you've (blank) a grade-level appropriate (blank), go through and delete (blank) 5th word. By deleting (blank) words in a pattern, (blank) can assess a student's (blank) to use context clues (blank) sentence structure knowledge to (blank) in the blanks.
When grading a cloze passage meant to assess reading comprehension, it is entirely up to you how exactly or accurately answers must be. For example, from the sentence, 'In order to assess (blank) reading comprehension skills…', the word 'general,' 'student,' or 'class' would make sense in the blank, but 'blue,' 'dog,' or 'math' would not.
Using random pattern deletion to create a cloze passage forces students to look on either side of the blank to determine what needs to be filled in. This technique assesses reading comprehension skills because students will need to understand what they are reading in order to accurately fill in the blanks. If students are unable to read the sentences around the blanks, they will not be able to fill them in.
The cloze procedure, also called the cloze readability test, is a useful tool for assessing students' reading comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary skills. By going through a passage and deleting targeted words, you can force students to use their reading skills to figure out what kind of words need to fill in the blanks. The cloze procedure is a useful, simple, and quick tool for gathering data about your students' reading comprehension skills.
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