Session 4 PowerPoints

Vocabulary Assessment Tools
How do you (or your school) usually assess
What kind of vocabulary knowledge is being
tested in each of the tests?
Do you see any problems with some of the
Various vocabulary assessment tools
(available at
 Vocabulary Levels Tests (VLTs)
To check vocabulary size at different word frequency levels –
both receptive and productive
Word Association Test
Meaning (different senses of a word), collocations
Vocabulary Knowledge Scale (VKS)
2000, 3000, 5000, 10000-word levels; AWL
Aim at score of at least 80%
To check “quality” or “depth” of vocab knowledge
Vocab Profiler
Lexical richness (type/token ratio) – more different words
More frequent words or more low-frequency words being used3
Vocabulary Knowledge Scale (VKS)
iii. I have seen this word before and I think it means “stop
working because of old age” (3 pts)
iv. I know this word. It means “stop working because of old
age” (3 pts)
v. I can use this word in a sentence:
He spent more time with his family after retire. (4 pts)
He spent more time with his family after he retired. (5 pts)
He decided to retire. (? pts)
 Self-reported in nature
 Level V: ability to produce sentence with target
vocab = ability to use the word appropriately?
To sum up…
Teach and consolidate the 2000 most
frequent words
Provide students with a variety of vocabulary
building activities
Encourage students to read widely
Encourage students to become independent
learners, esp. for learning low-frequency words
outside the classroom
Train students to use vocabulary learning
Vocabulary learning strategies (VLS)
Taxonomies of Vocabulary learning strategies
Memory strategies, e.g. the Keyword technique,
using mental images
Guessing word meaning from the context
Selecting, recording and revising vocabulary
Research studies on use of VLS of Asian
Vocabulary Learning Strategies
Important for independent learning of lowfrequency words
It is important to use a range of strategies
The quality of strategy use counts for more
than the quantity of strategies used
It is important to choose strategies flexibly
and appropriately according to context
Strategies can be taught and weaker learners
can benefit from strategy training
Taxonomy of VLS by Schmitt (1997)
Taxonomy of Language Learning Strategies (LLS) by O’Malley & Chamot, 1990:
cognitive, metacognitive, socio-affective
Oxford’s (1990) LLS taxonomy – direct strategies: involving the target language
directly and require mental processing of the language (memory, cognitive,
compensation) and indirect strategies: (metacognitive, affective, social)
Nation (1990) – discovery vs consolidation strategies
Schmitt’s (1997) VLS taxonomy:
(1) Discovery: discovering the meaning of unknown words
Determination strategies (finding meaning without recourse to others)
Social strategies (consulting or working with others to discover meaning)
(2) Consolidation: remembering words once their meaning has been discovered
Social strategies
Memory strategies (mnemonics)
Cognitive strategies (similar to memory, but without the use of mnemonics)
Metacognitive strategies (planning, monitoring, evaluation of learning)
Find out about your use of VLS
Complete the questionnaire* developed based
on Schmitt’s (1997).
* Adapted from Loong Y & Chan S W L, A Study of Vocabulary
Learning Strategies Adopted by Dentistry Students in Hong
Kong In Learning Specialized Dental Vocabulary, September
2012, Asian ESP Journal
The positive effect of VLS training:
Strategies can be taught and acquired
Strategies that were reported to be used significantly more frequently
at the end of the course than at the beginning of the course:
Analyze the word parts that make up the word *
Analyze any available pictures or gestures
Use (dental/medical) word lists*
Use flash cards
Create or use a visual image about the word in my mind*
Group words using a mind map*
*Strategies introduced in the English (EAP) course for Dentistry students
Source: Loong Y & Chan S W L, A Study of Vocabulary Learning Strategies Adopted by Dentistry
Students in Hong Kong In Learning Specialized Dental Vocabulary, September 2012, Asian ESP
Schmitt (1997)
600 Japanese EFL college learners (junior high school /
high school / university / adult ss)
preferred using the bilingual dictionary to discover
meaning of words
Preferred verbal and written repetition (mechanical
rehearsals) to remember the meanings
As the Japanese learners matured, they tended to move
away from shallow, mechanical repetition such as word
lists and flash cards to deeper mental processing such as
word association strategies
Shallow vs Deep Processing
Considered to be shallow:
 Rote memorisation of word lists
 Verbal / written repeitition
Considered to be deeper:
 Contextual guessing
 Association / Grouping of words
 Making mental images of words
 Using newly learnt words in speaking / writing
Nation’s (2001) Taxonomy
General class of
choosing 
what to focus on and
when to focus on it
Types of strategies
Choosing words to focus on
Choosing aspects of word knowledge to focus on
Choosing appropriate strategies to use and when to switch to another strategy
Planning repetition (increasingly spaced repetition)
finding 
information about the
Analysing word parts
Using the context
Consulting a reference source in L1 and L2 (e.g. dictionaries, glosses,
Comparing similarities and differences in L1 and L2 words (e.g. cognate
Noticing (seeing a word as an item to be learnt, e.g. keeping a notebook,
using word cards, written and verbal repetition)
Processes: establishing 
Retrieving (recall of previously learnt/met items, e.g. meeting a word in a
new context, covering parts of a word recorded in a notebook)
Generating (generation of word knowledge, e.g. using a word in new
contexts across the 4 skills, speaking, reading, writing or listening)
Memory Strategy – Using Mental Images
(Adapted from forthcoming “Loong Y & Chan S W L, A Study of Vocabulary Learning
Strategies Adopted by Dentistry Students in Hong Kong In Learning Specialized Dental
Vocabulary, September 2012, Asian ESP Journal”)
Memory Strategy – The Keyword Technique
Step One: Think of a
word that you know that
has a similar sound
“Keyword” )
Step Two: Create a
mental image to link up
the Keyword with the
target word
(Adapted from Brahler, C. J. & Walker, D. (2008). Learning scientific and medical
terminology with a mnemonic strategy using an illogical association technique. Advances in
Physiology Education, 32, 219-224.)
The “keyword” technique
word and
kurai (dark)
karada (body)
Link and visual
word that image created
has a
The “keyword” technique
word and
Link and visual
word that image created
has a
kurai (dark)
A baby cries
when it is dark
karada (body) colored
a colored body
Kurai - Cry
Imagine the visual of a
baby crying when it’s
Karada - colored
a colored body
Guessing strategies
Study the word itself (what pos? any word
Examine immediate context
Examine wider context
Make a guess
Verify your guess by using a dictionary
Strategies for guessing word
meaning from context (Nation, 1990)
Step 1:
What part of speech is it? Is it a noun, a verb, an adjective or an adverb?
Step 2:
Does it contain any familiar parts? (e.g. in-digest-ible)
Does it look similar to another word you already know?
Step 3:
Examine the immediate context. If the unknown word is a
What adjectives describe it?
What verb does it go with?
What does it do and what is done to it?
What nouns go with it?
Does an adverb tell you more about it?
What noun does it go with?
Which verb does it go with?
Step 4:
Examine the wider context. Look at the relationship between the clause or sentence
containing the unknown word and other sentences or paragraphs.
1. Sometimes this relationship is signalled by a linking word, e.g. but, because, if, when,
however, as a result.
2. Word like this, that and such as provide useful information.
3. Look for a definition or synonym in the wider context.
4. Make use of that / which clauses that give further information.
5. Look at punctuation for clues.
dashes brackets ( )
colons :
semi colons ;
Step 5:
Guess the meaning.
Step 6:
Substitute your guess. Does the sentence make sense? If you’re still unsure, look it
up in a dictionary.
Arduous – difficult / tiring
Affability – friendliness
Saunter – walk slowly
Boisterous – noisy / energetic
Squander – spend in a wasteful way
Weave – make cloth
Remuneration – payment
Dusk – early evening
Toil – work very hard
Selection Strategies:
Which words should you skip learning?
(Nation, 1990)
Recording vocabulary
Relate new words with old words (e.g. group
together words that look / sound similar,
synonyms, antonyms)
Grammatical behavior (e.g. prepositions, pos,
c/unc, regular/irregular verb)
use a drawing
Word cards? Portable devices?
Revising vocabulary
Plan for “spaced repetition”
Use quizzes to test yourself regularly
Follow a particular topic reported in the media over a few days,
e.g. reading about the development of an issue on the Internet or
in newspapers over a few days so that you keep meeting the
same words or synonyms of these words
Try to use the words you learnt before, e.g. by writing sentences
or paragraphs using these words
Revise the words recorded in your vocabulary notebook or cards
regularly (e.g. cover up the word or definition and test yourself)
Ask a friend to test you / practice using words you learnt before
with a friend
Importance of Revision
Spaced / Distributed Repetition
VLS research on Chinese learners
Fan, 2003 (p. 226) – questionnaire based on Gu &
Johnson 1996, Naiman et al 1978; O’Malley &
Chamot 1990; Oxford 1990; Rubin 1981)
Management (including social strategies)
Sources (sources for encountering new words)
To find meaning of words
To commit words into memory (memory strategies)
Repetition (mechanical written / verbal repetition)
Association (associating target word with another word or an image)
Grouping (grouping words e.g. according to topic, for learning)
Known Words (to use the word/consolidation/activation) –
items K1-K3 in the questionnaire
VLS research on Chinese learners
Gu and Johnson (1996) – China
Gu (2002) -- China
VLS and gender, major, lg prof (self-reported)
Liao (2004) -- Taiwan
VLS of two successful EFL learners (selected from 11 learners who carried
out “think-aloud” during a reading task, and were interviewed
immediately after the task and afterwards; the notes they took during the
reading task were studied)
Wei (2007) -- China
VLS and vocab size, lg prof, gender, academic major
Gu (2003) -- China
Beliefs (words should be learnt 1. by memorization / 2. in context / 3.
studied and put to use) and VLS use
Clusters of learning styles: 1. readers 2. active strategy users 3. passive
strategy users 4. encoders 5. non-encoders
Correlation betw VLS use and learning outcomes (vocab size and lg. prof)
VLS and English majors / non-English majors, gender
Fan (2003) -- HK
Use of VLS (questionnaire – frequency of use & perceived usefulness)
Some conclusions based on these studies
Positive correlation between strategy use and
language proficiency / learning outcomes
Successful learners use a wider range of
strategies, use deeper processing strategies, and
use strategies more skillfully / flexibly
Importance of self-initiation, selective attention,
guessing word meaning, activation of newly
learned words
Management, activation of newly learnt /known
words, association, and social strategies seem
under-used by Asian learners
Next Session (Session 5, Oct 8) – in CRT6.32
(computer lab - use of concordancers)
Session 6 – bring in an outline for your
assignment for discussion