I've been thinking about vocabulary test formats and have come up with several, depending on the ability levels of the students. Examples in this post are based on the French vocab for car journeys / breakdowns (apart from the 2nd multi-choice example, clearly...):
1. English to TL: tests production. They have to think of the word for themselves, and know how to spell it, plus possibly gender etc. Most challenging option. Made less challenging if you provide a word shape (e.g. spaces per letter) and even less so if you provide an anagram (e.g. dog = enhic).
Here's an example with word shapes provided:
2. TL to English: tests their recognition of the words. Receptive rather than productive. They have to write the English meaning - spelling not important. Less challenging.
3. Matching. Some people use matching for vocab tests, so students have a list of words and have to match them up. You can make this a bit harder by adding superfluous words to the list (ie. you have 10 en words, and 15-20 TL words - they have to choose the correct TL words to go with the 10 en words) but essentially it becomes a multiple choice activity, with much more scope for getting flukey correct answers than 2 above.
Here's a matching example:
4. Multiple choice. Takes longer to set up, and it's very easy to guess answers, as for an exercise with x possible answers per question, students have a 1 in x chance of guessing correctly. (aka multiple-guess)
Here's a multi-choice example, but note that the 'wrong' answers in this example were randomly generated (pro: quick to set up; con: some answers really obvious):
So multi-choice works best when the answers are similar in length, such as for single nouns or adjectives, as in this example:
5. Fill the gaps in a text - text with word list provided. Choose or write a text containing key words and blank out those key vocab items. Not so challenging if you include a word list to choose from (but slightly more so if you add superfluous words to the list) and certainly open to multiple-guess abuse, especially if there aren't many gaps.
Here's an example with a word list provided:
Here's an example with a different format to the one above (although we could've printed the above exercise without the word list):
7. Find the words in the text: use a text as with 5 and 6 above, but without gaps. Provide English cues for the vocab items (in random order) below the text. This can be a good mid-level test because it's difficult to guess answers (unless they're cognates) and you have the text for support. The student doesn't have to be able to spell the word, but s/he needs to know what it is, or at least be able to work out what it is from the text provided.
Here's an example based on the same text: