Key Issues in Measuring Vocabulary Knowledge

Authored by: John Read

The Routledge Handbook of Vocabulary Studies

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138735729
eBook ISBN: 9780429291586
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter focuses on issues related to testing knowledge of individual words in a second language. It begins with a discussion of the distinction between size and levels tests, as part of a broader consideration of the purposes for assessing vocabulary knowledge. It then covers several key issues in the design of vocabulary tests: the choice between selected- and constructed-response test formats; the role of L1 in testing L2 words; the effects of cognates as target L2 vocabulary items; the impact of guessing behavior on test performance; and procedures for validating vocabulary tests. Looking to future trends, the author points to the need for more attention to oral (or listening) vocabulary, and further exploration of speed of access to vocabulary knowledge as a component of lexical proficiency.

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