Use of Vocabulary Lists to Improve Assessment Performance

Use of Vocabulary Lists to Improve Assessment Performance—November 2006

In response to efforts to implement the use of grade-level vocabulary lists to improve assessment performance, OCTELA puts forth the following position statement:

OCTELA believes that state-wide grade level vocabulary lists are counter-intuitive to the natural acquisition of language.  Learning of language in isolation of context is not supported by research-based literacy instruction.  Rote memorization of vocabulary is not authentic learning.  Learning occurs through exposure to rich, multi-modal texts.  Any such lists reproduce social, cultural and linguistic biases that fail to validate the diversity of Ohio students.  In addition, any such lists fail to recognize the rapidly evolving nature of language.  Rather than prepare our students to learn language for their own purposes and real-world experiences, vocabulary lists provide isolated word study which fails to provide students with critical skills necessary for transferability within multiple contexts.  The development of assessment materials must be reflective of dynamic vocabulary and contextually-based word study.