An Instructional Application of the Multiple-Choice Cloze: A Case Study in the EFL Classroom

Abby Deng-Huei Lee, Richard Jenn-Rong Wu


We explored using multiple-choice cloze (MCC) tests for classroom instruction. The practice of “testing leading teaching” is frequently criticized because it might distort the original teaching objectives. We do not primarily emphasize how to get high scores; instead, we show how to use testing techniques and teaching activities to provide feedback that energizes teaching methods and increases learning effectiveness. We analyzed MCC test-taking strategies, which include leading students to: 1) skim for the first and the last sentence in cloze passages; 2) read the whole cloze passage to grasp its general idea; 3) look for contextual clues; 4) orally express (“thinking out loud”) their reasons for choosing one MCC test item instead of another; and 5) conduct group discussions. Finally, 6) teachers guided the entire class, discussed contextual and situational clues, and provided feedback about student choices and reasons. The experimental design of this research primarily compared the performance between two groups: Experimental and Control. Differences in cloze scores between the two groups were significant, but differences in reading comprehension scores were not. After six 25-minute MCC test lessons, Experimental group students had better MCC test scores than did Control group students. Our findings supported our hypothesis that MCC instruction, even for a short time, would improve performance on a cloze test. We also discuss how to use MCC tests to teach strategies for answering MCC test items.

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Copyright (c) 2018 Abby Deng-Huei Lee, Richard Jenn-Rong Wu

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English Language and Literature Studies   ISSN 1925-4768 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4776 (Online)   E-mail:

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