Find a Good Text

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Recorded Text Testing
Background Research
Intelligibility Interviews
Choose Kind of Test
Choose Test Points
Obtain a Text
Develop Questions
Create Introduction Text
Assemble Pilot Test
Administer Pilot Test
Select Final Questions
Build Reference Tests
Develop Post-RTT Questions
Administer Text Test Set
Process Scores
Obtaining a Text
Find a Good Storyteller
Find a Good Text
Record and Mark Text
Translate Phrases of Text

Choosing a poor story for the basis of a recorded text test can ruin the rest of the testing process and invalidate your results. The reasons can be as simple as the listeners' being familiar or even bored with the content. When you understand what characterizes a good recorded text, you will improve your ability to produce a good test. When you elicit a text, it's recommended that you ask for a summary of the story before recording it to make sure that the content is acceptable.

The quality of a recorded text depends greatly on how it is elicited. The more comfortable and adept you are at describing a good story and discussing the possibilities with the storyteller, the more likely it will be that you will obtain a text that meets or exceeds the criteria.

A Good Recorded Text...

  • Is two to five minutes in duration – stories shorter than two minutes will not have enough content to question, while texts longer than five minutes are usually too long to keep a person's attention. Some say that four minutes is a better limit. Remember, the people listening to the test you've made often have a hard time understanding what they're hearing – how long would YOU listen in their place?
  • Describes a personal experience (of the storyteller) – a story that is personal usually hasn't been heard by anyone outside the storyteller's close circle, if at all. Plus, it may have parts in it that stir an emotional response, which is as good an indicator of comprehension as the correct answer to a question.
  • Is NOT a commonly known event (e.g. folktale, traditional story) – if the story is a common one in the area you're surveying, listeners may be able to identify it and answer questions about it, even if they don't understand the story exactly. This situation results in higher scores than should be.
  • Does NOT depend on local assumptions or knowledge – when the story has parts in it that only people from that town would understand, then few listeners in other places will be able to answer questions correctly. This situation results in lower scores than should be.

Suggestions for Filling Out Details in a Text

After settling on the storyline, you may wish to ask the storyteller questions that bring out details in the account or which evoke the emotional content. When these things are included in the final telling of the story, the recorded text will be richer and you will find it easier to create questions.

  • Question the setting – time, duration, location, season
  • Identify other participants or characters in the story
  • Ask for adjectives and phrases to describe key characters or objects in the story