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General Scholastic Ability Test (GSAT)



    English



    In the 2010 version of the Senior High School Curriculum Guidelines, a new goal for high school English courses was added, requiring students “to acquire the skills of logical reasoning, critical thinking, and creativity” at the same time they are learning English. Furthermore, a clear distinction has been drawn between the levels of difficulty of the AST English and GSAT English, with AST English being the more difficult. The questions on the AST English and GSAT English are thus constructed to cover different levels of difficulty so the tests can distinguish among candidates with varying levels of English proficiency.

    Objectives

    1. To evaluate ability to understand and use high school level content words and their collocations

    2. To evaluate ability to understand English words, phrases (including content words, function words, fixed expressions, and transitional words, etc.), sentences and paragraphs using context clues

    3. To evaluate ability to understand content words (and fixed expressions) and transitional words using context clues

    4. To evaluate ability to understand paragraphs using knowledge of English vocabulary, fixed expressions, syntax, and pragmatics as well as analytical skills and deductive reasoning

    5. To evaluate ability to write English sentences which are correct in form and coherent in meaning

    6. To evaluate students’ ability to construct a coherent short essay based on a given prompt (e.g. a topic sentence or a set of pictures), using appropriate vocabulary and sentence structures

    7. To evaluate higher-order skills such as logical reasoning, critical thinking, and creativity

    Scope

    All questions are based on the 2010 version of Senior High School Curriculum Guidelines and the materials covered in 10th and 11th grade required English courses.

    Content

    The GSAT English evaluates knowledge of English vocabulary and ability to comprehend paragraphs, to write sentences (in the form of sentence making, sentence combining or Chinese-to-English translation), and to construct short paragraphs. There are multiple-choice questions and constructive response questions, each consisting of several types of questions. Among the multiple-choice questions, the items in the Vocabulary section evaluate students’ knowledge of English words, particularly with respect to their meaning and use; the passages for Rational Cloze, Banked Cloze, Sentence Gap Fill, and Reading Comprehension average 150 to 250 words in length and are followed by sets of questions that aim to assess students’ overall comprehension of as well as their ability to make inferences based on the passages. The passages chosen cover a wide range of topics in different genres (e.g. narrative or argumentative), from newspapers, magazines, books and other sources. Students planning to take the test should read articles on different topics and in different genres to improve their reading ability.

    The constructive response portion of the test consists of two parts: Chinese-to-English Translation and Guided Writing. The Translation section aims to evaluate students’ ability to use basic English words and to construct basic sentences (simple, compound, and complex sentences). Students are asked to translate sentences and paragraphs from Chinese to English, and to fill in the blanks in English sentences or paragraphs based on the given Chinese paragraph. The Guided Writing section asks for a short letter or paragraph based on a designated topic or (a set of ) pictures related to students’ school or everyday life.

    The GSAT English requires a 4,500-word vocabulary (see levels 1-4 of the Senior High School English Word-list constructed and provided by the College Entrance Examination Center, CEEC).[1]

    Question Types

    The GSAT English consists of reading and writing sections in the forms of multiple-choice questions and constructive response questions. Listed below are possible questions types.

    Sections One: Multiple-Choice Questions

    1. Vocabulary

    This part evaluates understanding of and ability to use high school-level content words and their collocations.

    2. Rational Cloze

    This part evaluates ability to understand English words, phrases (including content words, function words, fixed expressions, and transitional words, etc.), sentences and paragraphs using context clues.

    3. Banked Cloze

    This part evaluates ability to understand content words (and fixed expressions) and transitional words using context clues.

    4. Reading Comprehension

    This part evaluates students’ ability to comprehend paragraphs using knowledge of English vocabulary, fixed expressions, syntax, and pragmatics as well as analytical skills and deductive reasoning.

    Section Two: Guided Writing

    1. Sentence-combining/ rewriting or translation from Chinese to English

    (1) Sentence-combining/ rewriting

    This part tests ability to combine or rewrite sentences based on the prompts given.

    (2) Chinese to English Translation:

    Possible questions types here include single-sentence translation and sentence-gap translation.

    i. Single-sentence translation

    This part evaluates ability to transform Chinese sentences into their English equivalents which are correct in form and coherent in meaning.

    ii. Sentence-gap translation

    This part evaluates ability to translate sentences from Chinese to English using context clues in the paragraphs.

    2. Guided writing: Students could be asked to write a short letter or paragraphs based on a given topic or (a set of) pictures.

    This part evaluates ability to construct a coherent short essay based on a given prompt (e.g. a topic sentence or a set of pictures), using appropriate vocabulary and sentence structures.



    [1]  http://www.ceec.edu.tw/Research/paper_doc/ce37/ce37.htm