Understanding and practising cloze procedure
By Emma at Galore Park
01 Nov

What is cloze procedure?

The ability to work out the meaning of an unfamiliar word in a text is the skill being tested by cloze procedure. We naturally think about what the meaning of this word might be by considering what the text is about, the other words in the same sentence and the word class (such as a verb, noun or adjective). Finally we use our knowledge of English to make a calculated guess.
Cloze procedure tests, increasingly common in 11+ verbal reasoning tests introduced in recent years, consist of sentences or paragraphs where a word is missing and few clue letters are given. More challenging tests provide no clue letters at all.
Both types of questions can appear in 11+ papers although there are also other questions that test the combination of skills we use to work out the meaning of words. Typical questions of this type ask your child to find a word with similar or opposite meaning (these are also called cloze opposites), spotting words that are related in some way and reordering sentences to make sense.

Why is this being tested?

All the skills you subconsciously use to work out the meaning of words are being tested by cloze procedure and therefore give schools a good indicator of your child’s understanding and ability to use the English language. Consequently, children with accurate spelling skills, a wide vocabulary and a competent grasp of grammar do well in these tests.
Galore Park is aware of the difficulties children and parents face in preparing for these unfamiliar exams and have developed their new Verbal Reasoning series to support them. The teaching in the Verbal Reasoning Study and Revision Guide builds on English skills already developed in school and provides clearly explained answers to enable parents and children to understand what it takes to answer the most challenging questions.
Practical advice is offered on how to build your child’s confidence and abilities in answering cloze procedure questions, such as the variety of texts to include in their reading to improve vocabulary, collecting lists of different types of words and games to play together as a family that improve an awareness of word choice.

What do the questions look like in the cloze procedure tests?

The following examples show the most common questions your child will encounter in cloze procedure tests and these are all explained and tested in the Galore Park verbal reasoning series.
Variations on these questions can appear in 11+ tests from year to year and the series presents these questions in different ways to help your child become familiar with these challenges.
Example 1 (clue letters given)
Complete the sentence(s)
Read the sentence carefully to work out what the missing words might be then write out each complete word on the line to the right of the question.
They s__ __ r __d high above the rooftops before.
the as__ __ __ __ing aircraft disappeared into the clouds above.
Some words in these questions are easier to work out than others, although the difficulty-level can be misleading since they are often testing different aspects of reading. The first word above is only clear after reading the whole sentence so it testing the ability to ‘read around’ a word. Once the context is understood ‘soared’ is clearly the answer although unless spelled correctly marks would not be given. The clue to the second word is the ending, signaling that it is an adjective although the word ‘ascending’ is more challenging in terms of both vocabulary and spelling.
Example 2 (no clue letters given)
Complete the sentence(s)
In the sentence below a word has been left out. Choose a word to complete the sentence so that it makes sense.
The ______ raised its trunk and soaked the child with water.
Questions of this type are less likely to include challenging vocabulary because the missing word must be unambiguous. These questions are looking for skills in understanding how sentences are put together (the missing word is clearly a noun) and in using clues in the sentence to work out the specific word to be inserted. The only possible word is ‘elephant’ from the reference to ‘trunk’ and ‘soaked’.

In the second part of this blog, publishing on Monday, we'll be covering other types of questions which test children's understanding of word meaning, including 'synonyms and antonyms', 'match the meaning' and 'order the sentence'.

To ensure all verbal reasoning skills are thoroughly reviewed ahead of the exams, check out the Galore Park verbal reasoning range.


Share this post: