FLACS Regional Exams
Checkpoints A & B
Join us in preparing these
important exams.
September 2013
FLACS Exams
FLACS Regional
Checkpoint A:
FLACS Regional
Checkpoint B:
Part 1: Speaking (30 points)*
Part 1: Speaking (24 points)
Part 2: Listening (40 Points)
Part 2: Listening (30 points)
Part 3: Reading (20 points)
Part 3: Reading (30 points)
Part 4: Writing (10 points)*
Part 4: Writing (16 points)*
*Change made last year: Three tasks, 5 utterances—2 points each,
no quality point, no informal assessment in class.
*CHANGE COMING IN THE FUTURE: 2015
Writing task be informed by a reading. There will be 3 choices of
texts/writing prompts.
Standards/Content
 The New York State Standards for World
Languages (LOTE), the National Standards for
World Languages, and the New Revised Themes
for World Languages in the 21st Century (based
on the Topics from the Modern Language
Syllabus, IB and AP Themes) establish the
content, skills, knowledge and performance
standards for these exams.
Multiple Choice
Listening and Reading Test Items
Test items are the building blocks of an exam.
All multiple choice test items are composed
of three parts:
 Item stem (question/incomplete statement)
 Correct answer
 Distracters (incorrect responses)
“Options” refers to all the choices that are
available. The correct answer must be 100%
correct, 100% of the time.
Writing good MC Items:
Be sure to choose appropriate content (refer to
Themes/Topics/Standards)
2. Content should be at an appropriate level of difficulty
3. Be sure the answer to the question does not rely on one
word in the reading/document or on a visual alone
4. Checkpoint A=a question and 4 options
5. Checkpoint B=a question and 4 options or an
incomplete statement with four options
6. Do not use negatives in the question or options
7. Make sure the options are all the same length/format
8. The options should be viable and not grammatically
incorrect
9. Students should not be able to answer the question just
by reading the question and the options.
10. Place repeated words in the stem, not in the options.
1.
Distracters
 Designing plausible distracters is the most
challenging aspect of multiple choice item
writing.
 A good distracter should be chosen by low
achievers, not high achievers.
 The distracters are clearly not the correct
answer when the best answer is selected.
 All distracters should be similar in length and
format (i.e. verbs, infinitives, statements).
 The way to judge a good stem: students who
know the content should be able to answer
before reading the alternatives.
Do not have more than one answer that is
possibly correct.
Do not make correct answer noticeably
shorter or longer than the distracters.
Do not use copyrighted material. Public
domain content like newspaper/internet
articles and ads are permissible.
Things to Remember
Please keep in mind the ability level of your own
students and students throughout New York State as
well as Checkpoint A or B standards. The text should
be understandable. The vocabulary and grammatical
structures should not be out of the reach of the average
student who would take the test.
Please include the complete original document for
each item (magazine article, etc.) with a reference to
the name and date of the magazine or other source.
This pertains to both reading and listening passages.
Item Writing FLACS Regional Exams
Checkpoint A Exams
Part 2a Listening Comprehension: The passage is in the target language; the
question is in English. One multiple-choice question for each passage.
Part 2b Listening Comprehension: The passage is in the target language; the
question is also in the target language. One multiple-choice question for each
passage.
Part 2c Listening Comprehension: The passage is in the target language; the
question is in English with four pictures as the choices. One multiple-choice
question for each passage.
Part 3a Reading Comprehension: Short reading passages or authentic document
of similar size; one multiple-choice question for each selection. The questions are
in English. Please upload the originals.
Part 3b Reading Comprehension: Short reading passages or authentic document
of similar size; one multiple-choice question for each selection. The questions are
in the target language. Please upload the originals.
Item Writing FLACS Regional Exams
Checkpoint B Exams
Part 2a Listening Comprehension: The passage is in the target language; the
question is in English. One multiple-choice question for each passage.
Part 2b Listening Comprehension: The passage is in the target language; the
question is also in the target language. One multiple-choice question for each
passage.
Part 3a Reading Comprehension: Long reading passage; five multiple-choice
questions based on the reading. The questions are in the target language. Please
upload the originals.
Part 3b Reading Comprehension: Short reading passages or authentic document
of similar size; one multiple-choice question for each selection. The questions are
in English. Please send the original(s) rather than copies.
Part 3c Reading Comprehension: Long reading passage; five multiple-choice
questions based on the reading. The questions are in English. Please upload the
originals.
Reading Comprehension
 For Checkpoint B reading comprehension items, the
questions may be phrased as either a complete
question or an incomplete statement. (e.g. “The main
idea of this selection is….”)
 Word count for reading passages should be 500 - 700.
 Please make sure that the actual physical size is
appropriate – materials should not be at either
extreme. A reading selection should not be so huge
that it cannot fit on the test paper and it should not be
so small that the text is impossible to read.
 Color: Please make a copy of the selection first to
make sure that it will reproduce well in black and
white. If the answer depends upon the color of certain
parts of the selection, then it will not work.
Sample Listening Item
You are listening to the radio and you hear the following:
This month marks a celebration of dance and music. Several
famous dancers and musical groups from around the world will
be performing at the largest stadium in the city. Tickets go on
sale today. The first 200 people to purchase a ticket will win a
free T-shirt with the dancer or musical group of your choice
pictured on the shirt. There are discounts for senior citizens and
students. Call today and get your tickets for this great event and
you might just get a free T-shirt.
Why would someone want to go to this concert?
1-The opportunity to attend a free concert
2-The opportunity to get a free car wash
3-They are going to offer free T-shirts if you buy the tickets buy
tomorrow
4-The opportunity to bring a senior citizen to a concert for free
Sample Listening Item~Enhanced
You are listening to the radio and you hear the following:
This month marks a celebration of dance and music. Several
famous dancers and musical groups from around the world will
be performing at the largest stadium in the city. Tickets go on
sale today. The first 200 people to purchase a ticket will win a
free T-shirt with the dancer or musical group of your choice
pictured on the shirt. There are discounts for senior citizens
and students. Call today and get your tickets for this great
event and you might just get a free T-shirt.
What is this advertisement about?
1-A performance of dance and music
2-New musical groups in the city
3-A free concert for seniors
4-Discounts of $200 on dance lessons
Sample Reading Item
When would someone use these coupons?
1-Buying clothing for kids
2-Buying furniture
3-Saving money on purchases at a special store
4-Buying gifts for friends and getting a discount
Sample Reading Item~Enhanced
For what purpose would someone use these tickets?
1-To go to a movie
2-For a high school dance
3-To attend rock concerts
4-For traveling by train
Let’s review some sample items
that posed problems for students
on last year’s exams…
2011 Spanish Checkpoint A # 29
Spanish Checkpoint A # 21
¡El campeón de los hispanos!
el diario
LA PRENSA
21 What service does el diario offer?
(1) discounts on magazines
(2) news from Latin America
(3) employment opportunities
(4) vacation planning
Cuando esté de visita en Nueva York, el
periódico el diario/La Prensa es su
fuente informativa sobre lo que está
pasando en su propio país latino.
Disponible en quioscos de revistas a
través de todo Nueva York.
el diario
LA PRENSA
¡El campeón de los hispanos!
Spanish Checkpoint B # 15
15 You are listening to the radio in Seville, Spain when you hear the
following announcement:
Hola, soy Maribel. Tengo 22 años y soy española. Soy estudiante en la
Universidad de Sevilla y estoy estudiando para ser maestra. Hablo
español, francés e inglés. Me he propuesto cuidar de niños y ayudarles con
sus tareas escolares. Soy una joven muy responsable, seria y paciente,
además tengo experiencia con los niños de todas edades. Y ya que estudio
en una universidad, tengo tiempo libre y horario flexible. Vivo en el centro
de Sevilla. Si desea más información, llame por teléfono al 678 427 543.
¿Por qué llamarías a esta persona?
15 ¿Por qué llamarías a esta persona?
(1) para informarse sobre la universidad
(2) para aprender un idioma nuevo
(3) para hacer una excursión en Sevilla
(4) para tener ayuda con sus hijos
Spanish Checkpoint B # 23
23 ¿Cómo se comunican hoy los adolescentes?
Por: Elespectador.com
Una relación entre adolescentes comienza con el cambio de
estado en Facebook. Los mensajes de texto son uno de sus
medios favoritos de comunicarse, pero no hay nada mejor que un
encuentro físico. Para los jóvenes, el teléfono es una herramienta
social.
Estas fueron algunas de las conclusiones de una investigación
realizada, entre junio y noviembre de 2011, por el laboratorio del
proveedor de telecomunicaciones, Ericsson, que investigó los
medios que prefieren los adolescentes a la hora de comunicarse y
socializar con los demás.
23 What is one of the conclusions of the article?
(1) Letter writing is becoming more popular.
(2) The telephone is growing obsolete.
(3) There is a lack of communication.
(4) The best form of communication is in person.
Spanish Checkpoint B # 30
30 A trip to Puerto Rico can also interest people who are…
(1) interested in the study of tropical animals
(2) worried about animal extinction
(3) employees at international companies
(4) inclined to study indigenous societies
French Checkpoint B # 13
13 While listening to a French talk show, you hear a noted psychologist say the
following:
Il y a une phobie qui se caractérise par la peur de ne pas avoir son téléphone
portable avec soi. Elle semble refléter un mal nouveau qu'on doit surtout aux
technologies de communication et particulièrement à l’usage intensif que l’on fait
de nos smartphones. Tous attachés au mobile, nous sommes tous concernés.
Pourquoi nos chers téléphones portables sont-ils devenus indispensables à la
condition humaine? Voila ce qu'on se demande.
De quelle phobie parle-t-on?
13 De quelle phobie parle-t-on?
(1) d'une phobie d’être sans son téléphone portable
(2) d'une phobie de la technologie
(3) d'une phobie des téléphones portables
(4) d'une phobie de la foule
French Checkpoint B # 22
22 Si vous recevez plusieurs personnes à la maison et vous ne
voudriez pas passer trop de temps à la cuisine, voici une idée pour
un dessert qui s’accompagne de glace. Faites vos boules de glace à
l’avance et gardez-les sur un plat au congélateur. La glace sera ainsi
beaucoup plus facile à servir à vos invités le moment venu, tout en
vous permettant de confectionner rapidement des coupes glacées
pour ceux qui en voudront.
22 This tip would be of interest to a person who....
(1) wants to spend more time with dinner guests.
(2) does not like to prepare big dinners.
(3) is looking for a new dessert recipe.
(4) is allergic to dairy products.
Starting the item writing process:
Find or Create Listening and
Reading Comprehension Stimuli
 Listening passages can also be derived from
reading sources.
 Reading passages are texts, articles from
authentic sources (schedules, tickets from events,
travel, advertisements, etc.)
 Long reading passages can be taken from a
variety of sources.
 Authentic documents=realia.
Think of your students…
 Why are you choosing this listening or reading passage
or document? Is it based on the goals for the
course/student learning objectives?
 Read the passage, document, or article, decide why
you selected this item. Is it giving you information
about the students’ knowledge, skill, ability in the
language that is meaningful?
 Create items that you know would be challenging yet
appropriate for the level of students you teach.
Checklist for item writing
Item is based on standards/learning objectives
Addresses one of the Themes/Topics and is
culturally accurate
Is written at appropriate level of difficulty
Answer is not based on one word
No double negatives
Options are all same format, length, etc.
Document is clear, legible and reprints well
There are no grammatical errors in item
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FLACS Item Writing Workshop PowerPoint