Vocabulary development is essential for learning, but conventional vocabulary assessments lack the range and flexibility to support K–12 classroom teachers in making instructional decisions. Drawing on linguistics, educational psychology, and educational measurement, this book offers a fresh perspective on word learning and describes powerful, precise assessment strategies. Guidelines are presented for selecting which words to teach, evaluating the depth and richness of students' word knowledge and their ability to apply it in complex contexts, designing effective instructional practices, and using technology to create adaptive and scalable assessments. User-friendly features include sample test items, classroom examples, a glossary, and suggested print and online resources.
“In this important volume, five leading scholars challenge the narrow and simplistic definitions of vocabulary that too often have guided the teaching and assessment of word meanings. Integrating research from multiple disciplines, the book advances a multifaceted, nuanced perspective on vocabulary and illustrates how this perspective can guide the next generation of assessments to inform instruction.”
—Michael J. Kieffer, EdD, Steinhardt School of Education, Culture, and Human Development, New York University
“This book tackles the complex yet crucial topic of linking assessment to instruction in the domain of vocabulary. For decades, the field of education has been unable to meet the challenge of getting meaningful, useful vocabulary assessment into everyday classroom practice in a way that improves reading outcomes. McKeown and colleagues offer solutions that are anchored in current research and theory and have a realistic focus on today's learners and classroom practices. This excellent resource will be read and reread by all those keen on using the latest science of literacy development to boost student learning.”
—Nonie K. Lesaux, PhD, Juliana W. and William Foss Thompson Professor of Education and Society, Harvard Graduate School of Education
“Finally—a book focused on meaningful vocabulary assessment to inform instructional practice! The volume extends our understanding of the vocabulary-learning process and presents multiple approaches to assessment that can be used flexibly with a range of students. Addressing the shortcomings of traditional vocabulary assessments, this book is full of practical ways to learn about students' depth of knowledge, gradations of knowledge, and application of knowledge, and includes a reader-friendly explanation of the research underlying these approaches.”
—Susan Watts Taffe, PhD, School of Education, University of Cincinnati
“Our inability to comprehensively assess vocabulary learning has long been a major obstacle preventing teachers from maximizing the effectiveness of their instruction. This much-needed book represents a breakthrough in theory and practice. It will be an indispensable 'go-to' resource for a wide audience of practitioners and scholars.”
—Michael D. Coyne, PhD, Special Education Program, University of Connecticut
Table of Contents:
1. The Importance of Teaching and Assessing Vocabulary
2. A New Perspective for Thinking about Vocabulary
3. Surveying the State of Vocabulary Assessment
4. Which Words and Word Meanings Should We Teach and Assess?
5. How Should We Assess Vocabulary?
6. Classroom Practices for Vocabulary Instruction
7. Role of Technology to Support Adaptive, Flexible, and Scalable Assessments
Appendix 7.1: Some Important Corpora
8. Resources for Developing a Nation of Word Learners
About the Authors:
Margaret G. McKeown, PhD, is Clinical Professor of Education in the School of Education and a Senior Scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work addresses practical, current problems that classroom teachers and their students face. Dr. McKeown has conducted research in the areas of instructional design and teacher professional development in reading comprehension and vocabulary. She is a recipient of the Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award from the International Literacy Association and a National Academy of Education Spencer Fellowship. Prior to her career in research, Dr. McKeown taught reading and language arts in elementary school. She is coauthor of books including Bringing Words to Life, Second Edition, and Creating Robust Vocabulary.
Paul D. Deane, PhD, is a Principal Research Scientist in Research and Development at Educational Testing Service (ETS). He has published extensively on lexical semantics, vocabulary assessment, writing assessment, and principles of assessment design. His research on vocabulary assessment has focused on developing methods to measure different aspects of vocabulary depth and breadth. During his career at ETS, Dr. Deane has also played a key role in the Cognitively Based Assessments of, for, and as Learning (CBAL) research initiative, where he led the development of learning progressions and assessment designs for English language arts, including vocabulary assessment.
Judith A. Scott, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work addresses vocabulary acquisition and blending vocabulary instruction with effective teacher education within the context of language, literacy, and culture. Dr. Scott has been the lead researcher on three vocabulary research projects, including one focused on innovation in vocabulary assessment. She is a recipient of the John C. Manning Public School Service Award from the International Literacy Association. She also serves as a consultant for technology companies, helping them with educational applications and assessment.
Robert Krovetz, PhD, an independent researcher and consultant based in New Jersey, has consulted for Educational Testing Service on projects to improve the assessment of vocabulary breadth and depth. He has published more than 30 papers, including one on morphology and information retrieval that has been cited by more than 700 other papers and was ranked by Citeseer as one of the 100 most-cited papers of the year in computer science. Dr. Krovetz has given invited talks at the American Society for Information Science and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence symposium on Text-Based Intelligent Systems. Previously he was a scientist at the NEC Research Institute and a senior research scientist at Ask Jeeves.
René R. Lawless, EdM, is a Principal Research Associate in Research and Development at Educational Testing Service. Her research has focused on the creation of measures of students’ breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge, second language acquisition of vocabulary, evidence-centered design, and fairness across assessments. Ms. Lawless is currently working on fairness projects for cultural and linguistic minorities, for which she has coauthored multiple white papers and is lead author of fairness guidelines for the International Test Commission.