In the spring of 2017, the CDIP/EDK assessed for the first time the basic skills in the first foreign language of schoolchildren at the end of primary school. On the basis of this assessment, the “Passepartout cantons” (the six cantons on the French-German language border) are investigating how well the targets were achieved in French. The Research Centre on Multilingualism has the responsibility of developing test tasks for this purpose, and the project Task Lab was conducted in the scope of this activity. Task Lab carries out important preparatory and foundational work in the area of (computer-based) testing of reading comprehension for the purpose of this project and future studies.
The project aim is to enable statements to be made on the functioning of: various task types to assess reading comprehension (multiple choice, short answers, matching); various reading approaches (e.g. skimming vs. scanning); and tasks with various linguistic traits (especially the language of questions and answers). To better explain any observed correlations, the participating students were also tested in basic skills in addition to their competence in reading comprehension (e.g., the scope of their linguistic resources, the fluency of word recognition, the capacity of their working memories, or their motivation to learn the subject). The overarching aim is to better understand the factors for success in reading comprehension and to therefore achieve more precise interpretations of the test results and test scales in large studies.