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Computational Text Analysis and Reading Comprehension Exam Complexity

Towards Automatic Text Classification


Trisevgeni Liontou

This book delineates a range of linguistic features that characterise the reading texts used at the B2 (Independent User) and C1 (Proficient User) levels of the Greek State Certificate of English Language Proficiency exams in order to help define text difficulty per level of competence. In addition, it examines whether specific reader variables influence test takers’ perceptions of reading comprehension difficulty. The end product is a Text Classification Profile per level of competence and a formula for automatically estimating text difficulty and assigning levels to texts consistently and reliably in accordance with the purposes of the exam and its candidature-specific characteristics.
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6. Discussion & Conclusions


Through its investigation of the significant relationships among a range of text and reader variables, the present research contributes to the understanding of the reading comprehension process of Greek EFL test-takers and from a theoretical perspective provides evidence regarding the strength of various lexical indices in predicting text difficulty. In addition, by analyzing authentic source texts and exploring EFL users’ perceptions while taking part in a high-stakes exam, administered under standard operational conditions, the study sheds light on the effect specific text and reader variables have on exam performance and perceived text difficulty. Last but not least, the current study breaks new ground in text difficulty research and makes a methodological contribution in that, instead of examining a limited number of text variables independently, it makes extensive use of advanced text analysis software applications and investigates the impact of 135 text variables on readability. This way it is believed that their interaction has been better defined and predicted within the context of the KPG language exams in English.

6.1 Usefulness of the study

One of the most important outcomes of the within and across levels analysis of the lexicogrammatical features present in KPG test source texts has been the detailed description of their linguistic characteristics that has ultimately led to the creation of a Text Classification Profile per level of competence (B2/C1). The newly created profile (Table 6.1) could be of practical use in KPG’s systematic attempt to qualify the communicative descriptors included in...

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