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Vocabulary assessment refers to the measure of word understanding either as an inventory of word knowledge or a proxy of reading comprehension, or as part of declarative knowledge measured in topical assessments. Given that vocabulary, background knowledge, and reading comprehension are linked ((Anderson & Freebody, 1985; Duke & Pearson, 2000) assessments of vocabulary make a large portion of measures of learning

What does the Research Say

Vocabulary and comprehension are multidimensional and incremental. People learn vocabulary in context dependent manners. A Pokemon player knows specific language, many Stans will evolve this language over a lifetime. As a result, vocabulary can not get simplly measured. (NICHD, 2000; Paris, 2005). Large scale normed reference test of vocabulary knowledge do not provide you with data to inform instruction.

Word learning and assessment tries to account for the incremental method of word learning. Beck, McKeown, and Omanson, (1987) identify the following “stops” on the continuum

  • no knowledge of the term
  • general understanding
  • narrow but context-bound understanding
  • knowing a word but not able to use it
  • decontextualized knowledge of meaning through relationship to other words or concepts. Often measured using metaphors and analogies

The qualitative differences of the complexity of word meanings and the contextual dependence of use makes vocabulary multi-dimensional. In terms of assessment you want items to be unideimensional. They need to measure one thing.

When developing assessments that utilize vocabulary items we rely on Cronbach's (1942) the receptive/productive duality. Receptive vocabulary means understanding words when you hear them. Productive vocabulary means correctly using the words in reading or writing.

Vocabulary assessments seek to measure the breadth and depth of word knowledge in a given domain or overall verbal intelligence. Breadth refers to the overall oversize of the vocabulary and depth refers to how much someone knows about a word.

When considering an assessment you align to your goals and then think about three types of continuums (Read, 2000):

  1. Discrete vs Embedded-Teasting and teaching items as a seprate subtest. Measuring vocabulary in process of tasks or as artifacts embedded in items.
  2. Selective-Comprehensive. Do you grab from a quantum physics chapter or try to measure general science vocabulary of high school students?
  3. Context-Independent–Context-Dependent- Does the vocabulary measure occur isolated from context say a written text or embedded in context such as a rubric of teacher quality.
vocabulary_and_assessment.txt · Last modified: 2022/04/11 23:50 by jgmac1106