Dissertation: Clark Burke

Cohort 2, published 2011


An Initial Examination of the Relationship Between Academic Vocabulary Instruction and Assessment at the Fourth Grade Level


This study was an initial attempt to examine the assumption of a relationship between the subcomponent of Academic Language, Academic Vocabulary, and student and teacher knowledge as well as instruction and assessment in the fourth grade. To help investigate the researcher’s claims, the study also evaluated the effectiveness of an independent vocabulary program. Coupled with a comprehensive literature review, this study utilized both qualitative and quantitative research. The researcher analyzed the use of Academic Vocabulary words taught in a state-approved ELA curriculum and compared them to the words used on the California Standards English Language Arts Tests in fourth grade. Data collected from a teacher survey and a student survey were used to evaluate the need for Academic Language and Vocabulary. Finally, the researcher evaluated an independent vocabulary program using pre- and post-assessments to help determine the effectiveness of an independent vocabulary program on a standardized exam. Data show that the deficiency is evident when students and teachers are asked to define Academic Language and Academic Vocabulary and how it is instructed in class. Also, the appearance of Academic Vocabulary on the California Standards Test shows a definitive need to teach Academic Language and Academic Vocabulary. With the research and data to substantiate the need, it is recommended an Academic Language Development program be created and modeled after the English Language Development program. Keywords: Academic Language, Academic Vocabulary, Academic Language Development, California Standards Test, Open Court Vocabulary, English Language Development, Second Language Acquisition, Limited Language Proficient, Second Language Learner.

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