A cloze test
(also cloze deletion test
) is an exercise, test, or assessment consisting of a portion of text with certain words removed, where the participant is asked to replace the missing words. Cloze tests require the ability to understand context and vocabulary
in order to identify the correct words or type of words that belong in the deleted passages of a text. This exercise is commonly administered for the assessment of native and second language learning
The word cloze derives from closure in Gestalt theory . The exercise was first described by W.L. Taylor in 1953.
Words may be deleted from the text in question either mechanically (every nth word) or selectively, depending on exactly what aspect it is intended to test for. The methodology is the subject of an extensive academic literature ; nonetheless, teachers commonly devise ad hoc tests.
A language teacher may give the following passage to students:
Today, I went to the ________ and bought some milk and eggs. I knew it was going to rain, but I forgot to take my ________, and ended up getting wet on the way ________.
Students would then be required to fill in the blanks with words that would best complete the passage. Context in language and content terms is essential in most, if not all, cloze tests. The first blank is preceded by "the"; therefore, a noun, an adjective or an adverb must follow. However, a conjunction follows the blank; the sentence would not be grammatically correct if anything other than a noun were in the blank. The words "milk and eggs" is important for deciding which noun to put in the blank; "supermarket" is a possible answer; depending on the student, however, the first blank could either be store, supermarket, shop or market while umbrella or raincoat fit the second.
The definition of success in a given cloze test varies, depending on the broader goals behind the exercise. Assessment may depend on whether the exercise is objective (i.e. students are given a list of words to use in a cloze) or subjective (i.e. students are to fill in a cloze with words that would make a given sentence grammatically correct).
I saw a man lay his jacket on a puddle for a woman crossing the street. I thought that was very ______.
Given the above passage, students' answers may then vary depending on their vocabulary skills and their personal opinions. However, the placement of the blank at the end of the sentence restricts the possible words that may complete the sentence; following an adverb and finishing the sentence, the word is most likely an adjective. Romantic, chivalrous or gallant may, for example, occupy the blank, as well as foolish or cheesy. Using those answers, a teacher may ask students to reflect on the opinions drawn from the given cloze.
The word game Mad Libs
is a game resembling a cloze test in popular culture. Though outside of the language classroom, Mad Libs consists of short stories with essential words replaced by blanks. One person then asks the rest of the group for words, according to the parts of speech indicated underneath each blank in the story. The resulting story, when read out loud, is meant to be comical or nonsensical.