Direct and Indirect Assessments of Listening: An Investigation of the Nature of Short-Answer Questions and Dictation as Different Types of Testing Items

Abdullah Al Fraidan, Nurah I. Al Mulhim


This paper investigates two different methods of testing listening comprehension: the direct test, which consists of short-answer questions (SAQs), and the indirect test, which consists of dictation. The results of the study are localised, as the research is conducted at King Faisal University, a local university in Saudi Arabia, with four students from the Department of English Language. After the data were collected using questionnaires and think-aloud techniques, the information was analysed. The performance of each participant on the direct test was compared with his or her performance on the indirect test. The study was conducted to determine whether the performance of the participants on the indirect test is superior to their performance on the direct test. However, the results showed that the assumption underlying the question must be rejected. Moreover, the results led us to conclude that the indirect testing technique (dictation) is more complex and requires greater cognitive ability than we anticipated.

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

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