• ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Can reading comprehension be measured in a valid way by having pupils, at the higher levels of secondary education, write a précis? An attempt to answer this question was made with respect to German and French texts. An advantage of setting a précis is that it does without comprehension questions. Such questions have the undesirable effect of facilitating the interpretation of a text. Another argument in favour of précis writing is its practical relevance (e.g. for later studies). A disadvantage is the inevitably subjective element in the rating. If this subjectivity cannot be kept within certain bounds, précis writing does not qualify for inclusion in a centrally organized examination. One aim of the present research was to establish the extent of interrater-reliability in the assessment of précis. Preliminary to this research it had to be determined what sort of précis would be most suitable. Its main features were defined as follows: its length had to be about a quarter of the original text, it had to be an objective rendering of the text, but pupils would not be required to adhere to the order of its parts. Rating instructions were produced giving the criteria for assessment and specifying the assignment of score marks. Research was done to establish the measure of agreement between ratings in which these instructions were observed and between independent assessments. The ratings on the basis of the instructions showed a higher measure of agreement than independent assessments. This research was repeated after the instructions had been revised leading to a substantial improvement of agreement between ratings.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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