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A Quantitative and Qualitative Study of Elementary School Children's Vocabularies

Michael F. Graves
The Journal of Educational Research
Vol. 82, No. 4 (Mar. - Apr., 1989), pp. 203-209
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27540342
Page Count: 7
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A Quantitative and Qualitative Study of Elementary School Children's Vocabularies
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Abstract

This study employed a group test and individual interviews to investigate quantitative and qualitative aspects of students' vocabularies. Subjects for the group test were 216 higher, middle-, and lower ability 2nd, 4th, and 6th graders. Subjects for the interviews were 8 high- and low-ability 3rd and 5th graders. All subjects were from a middle-class suburb of a large midwestern city. The group test consisted of two forms of a 36-item, multiple-choice test comprising words at various difficulty levels. Subjects received one form of the test as a reading test and the other as a listening test in a counterbalanced fashion. The interviews required subjects to give two meanings for words in isolation, identify two meanings of words presented in two contexts, and distinguish between the meanings of closely related words. An ANOVA on the group test indicated significant (p < .01) differences caused by grade, ability, mode, and word difficulty. On the interviews, students performed best at identifying multiple meanings in context, whereas giving multiple meanings for isolated words best distinguished good and poor readers. These and other results are discussed.

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