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从ACT考试官方报告 挖掘阅读成绩提升“捷径”

ACT俱乐部 2016-03-17 09:33

  ACT考试改革稳中图变,小步快跑一路领先。一时间,中国市场ACT考试与SAT考试之争硝烟四起,ACT考试的呼声渐涨,香港、新加坡、韩国等考点ACT报名更是如日中天,国内各机构关于ACT考试辅导重中之重的阅读部分也各出绝招,力争招募到更多的培训学员。殊不知ACT官方早在十年前做出的ACT考试阅读科目报告就已昭示ACT阅读考试并非仅仅考查文章表层词句理解(Literal Comprehension),深层含义推断(Inferential Comprehension),文章主题与作者意图(Main Idea/Author's Approach),支持性细节(Supporting Details),文章发展逻辑关系(Relationships),词汇含义(Meaning of Words)以及总结和结论(Generalization and Conclusion)等重阅读内容方面的能力,更重要的考查点是在文本解读方面。

  这一出题思路恰恰与众多的国内培训机构的相当一部分阅读老师所理解的阅读材料是“字、词、句、段、文”的堆砌的观点相左。而这一国际考试的阅读教学的传统思想直接影响了备考培训的效率,也一直滞碍着中国学生国际考试阅读成绩的提升。

  在ACT官方公布的以下数据的图示不难看出ACT官方一直遵循让阅读回归到CCRS的要求。CCRS是ACT大学与职业准备标准的缩写, CCSS是美国州核心课程标准的缩写。(CCRS与CCSS的关系ACT官方发布的白皮书已有明示且前篇文章“【学术积累】ACT考试准备书单——文学小说篇”也有过解析)。

从ACT考试官方报告 挖掘阅读成绩提升“捷径”

  ACT考试阅读科目考查学生两个层面的理解能力:即表层文字理解能力和深层含义推断能力。表层文字理解能力要求考生确认文中给出的具体信息;而深层含义推断能力则要求考生能够根据文中不同部分提取的信息进行推断。考试报告中显示考生的文字理解能力和推断能力成正比,在同一个分值上考生回答文字理解能力题和推断能力题的正确率几乎是一样的。

  再看官方对文本内容Textual Elements的分数分布的数据图示

从ACT考试官方报告 挖掘阅读成绩提升“捷径”

  这张表格也显示了文章主题与作者意图(Main Idea/Author's Approach),支持性细节(Supporting Details),文章发展逻辑关系(Relationships),词汇含义(Meaning of Words),概括和总结(Generalizations & Conclusions)五个方面同上表呈现相同的趋势,不管是在大学基准线上还是下,五种题目答案的正确率都几乎相同。没有哪一个单项能够区别于其它项目。

  但是当关乎到文本复杂度时,表格数据线的差异就扩大了,见下图:

从ACT考试官方报告 挖掘阅读成绩提升“捷径”

  从图中可以看出,较简单的和中等程度文本的考试正确率远高于复杂文本的正确率,这个表格说明如果我们培养学生对复杂文本的感受能力,学生的阅读成绩将可以大幅度提升!

  首先,我们需要确定文本的复杂程度。根据ACT官方对文本复杂度的规定,可以从以下五个方面来考量文本的复杂度。

  一、目的/意义层次Purpose/Level of Meaning

  以目的为例,简单文本目的一目了然,复杂文本蕴含复杂的目的,且显而易见的目的并非文章真实目的。

  如下文:

  Discussions over whether or not human behavior differs from all other forms of animal behavior have been a part of sociology from its beginning. During the late 1930s, when sociology finally became accepted in the academic establishment, the question took on new importance. Gorge A. Lundberg, the most famous and articulate spokesperson for the school that views sociology as a pure science (like physics), was roundly criticized by Robert M. MacIver, a sociologist who for many years had maintained that human life is unique and that therefore the methods of a science of society must be distinct from those of other sciences. …

  The particular debate has never been fully resolved, nor can it be. The behavior of human beings is, no doubt, exceedingly complex when compared to that of many other forms of life. Yet even if we accept the notion that human behavior is unique, many of the assumptions of a science of society are still valid. The scientific demands for rigor and careful collection of data are very much a part of sociology. It is in this sense that almost all scholars agree sociology is a science. Practitioners of the discipline are careful to back their statements about behavior with observations. It is not enough to state that you feel or think that the middle class believes this or that. It is necessary, if you are acting as a scientist, to (1) define what you mean by “the middle class” and (2) describe the procedures you used in collecting and analyzing the data that led you to make a particular statement about the beliefs of that group.

  这篇北美ACT考试阅读原文第一段咋一看起来以为是讲人类行为与动物行为的对比。但是随着文章的演进,就会发现文章真正的重点是在何种程度上社会学能称为科学。

  二、结构 Structure

  文章的结构可以非常直白简单,且有明确的转承词或短语,也可能是复杂的结构,有平行的故事情节,穿插倒叙flashbacks或者提前叙述未来事件flash-forwards,叙述者可以是一个也可以是几个。比如说60E的第一篇分别用Summer和Delta两姐妹的视角来叙述故事。再比如说61B的第一篇第五段,将前四段叙述的故事放到了一个更大的故事中进行讲述。这些学生不太熟悉的文本结构都会影响学生的阅读速度和答题质量。

  三、语言 Language

  包括词汇,句型,修辞以及遵守语言规范等。复杂文本可能会选用一些比较生僻的学术词汇,或者是古旧词汇,句子结构可能也会使用一些非现代英语管用的早起英语句型,文中会包含许多讽刺,比喻,反语,诙谐等。

  比如61C第三篇第二段:

  When I was five, I would not go to bed willingly because something came into my room. My sister Amy, two years old, was asleep in the other bed. What did she know? She was innocent of evil. There was no messiness in her, no roughness for things to cling to, only a charming and charmed innocence that seemed then to protect her, an innocence I needed but couldn't muster. Since Amy was asleep, furthermore, and since when I needed someone most I was afraid to stir enough to wake her, she was useless.

  文中出现的“charming and charmed innocence”不仅自身很有艺术,也很值得学生玩味的,而对这两个词的理解直接影响文章第四题的选择。

  四、抽象性 Abstractness

  文本根据复杂程度不同,对抽象的概念进行描述的篇幅也不一致。对抽象概念的理解对有效理解文章意义重大。

  以60E的第一篇第八、九段为例:

  “This Place pulls you down and holds you,” Sunday had said. “Delta, don’t you see, it pulls you down and hold you, silent and safe.”

  What Sunday said that night was condemnation of a place, but Delta absorbed it all. She was of Wake County and caught in that understanding of herself. Intoxicated with saying what had long been felt, they both spoke freely and all barriers fell. …

  文中显然“being safe”对于Summer来说是“a bad thing”, 又提到Delta “was of Wake County”这些抽象的概念和思想的表达是考生理解Summer和Delta这两姐妹爱恨交织的情感纠葛的关键。

  五、知识要求 Knowledge Demands

  文本分析,生活经历,文学与文化的知识要求复杂文本会比较多地引申,引用其他文章和文献的思想或内容,要求从文化,历史背景中进行解读,同时还需要读者具有丰富的人生阅历。

  61C最后两段:

  The world did not have me in mind. It was a coincidental collection of things and people, of items, and I myself was one such item—a child walking up the sidewalk, whom anyone could see or ignore. The things in the world did not necessarily cause my overwhelming feelings; the feelings were inside me, beneath my skin, behind my ribs, within my skull. They were even, to some extent, under my control.

  I could be connected to the outer world by reason. If I chose, or I could yield to what amounted to a narrative fiction, to a show in light projected on the room’s blue walls.

  这些作者对内在生活的感知对于很多美国学生来说都是不熟悉的,更不用说国际学生理解的难度了。

  了解文本复杂度的五个维度,无论考生或者培训老师,在学习与教学实践中都将得到验证。考试培训也要遵循语言技能,语言知识,情感态度,学习策略与文化意识的五维培养目标,ACT阅读测试并非仅仅是对文本信息的浅层寻找与理解,而有着自己深刻的多元内涵。考生对复杂文本的把控能力越强,大幅度提升阅读成绩的可能性就越大。增强考生的文本分析的意识,势在必行!毕竟ACT阅读考试时考生与阅读文本的对话。

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