For this project I sought to find a more effective means of evaluating academic listening comprehension. This involved doing an in-depth investigation of academic listening, the constructs involved in listening comprehension, and of methods of assessing listening comprehension. It also included a study of the concept of test usefulness (Bachman and Palmer, 1996), which consists of reliability, construct validity, authenticity, interactiveness, impact, and practicality, and is used to help select the most effective methods of assessing language abilities. Based on my review of listening comprehension testing methods, I created a method of assessing academic listening comprehension, Aural Gapped Listening Summaries (AGLS), produced a short version of the AGLS for piloting through BYU's English Language Center and credit exam for matriculated students, and then analyzed the results of this piloting to determine whether future investigation was merited. This project write-up includes a description of the development of the AGLS, the methods of administration, and students' cursory perceptions of the AGLS, as well as the results of the pilot test. The AGLS involved students listening to an excerpt of a lecture followed by an aural summary of that lecture with every 8th word replaced by low-volume static. Then they were asked to type a word or phrase in a box on their computer screens that would best fill in the gap where the static was. Ranks on the AGLS were correlated with a standard listening test, which is administered every semester at Brigham Young University, and with students' individual perceptions of their listening abilities. Results showed that AGLS correlates moderately well with traditional measures of academic listening (r=0.7731) while giving testers interesting information about student interlanguage in very little time. Results further showed that AGLS has a much higher reliability coefficient (r=0.9223) in comparison to the other listening test. Therefore, although traditionally testers have had to write lengthy tests in order to get an adequate representation of students' listening abilities, it may be possible to obtain the necessary information about students' abilities with this more time-efficient measurement tool.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type

Selected Project




academic listening, summary cloze, noise test, collocational competence, working memory, usefulness



Included in

Linguistics Commons