Dictionaries and tests of EFL reading comprehension

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of dictionaries in EFL (English as a Foreign Language) tests is a controversial issue. Test constructors and administrators wish to refrain from introducing any extraneous materials into the test situation, whereas teachers would like to incorporate dictionaries because they are seen to be an integral part of the reading process. The aim of this investigation is to focus on some of the underlying assumptions by which dictionaries may or may not be permitted during examinations. Towards this end, test questions were especially written, bearing in mind that students would be using dictionaries. The rationale for these questions is explained; they ask about the function or effect of words and sentences in context. It was concluded that the dictionary does not really lsquo;give' the student the meaning of a word. Readers have to negotiate that for themselves according to the context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-345
Number of pages5
JournalELT Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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