Assignment for the missing classes Name: Subhan Ullah Student ID: M135117 Submitted to: Mr. Sasao Questions 1: Read the article entitled “A vocabulary size test” by Paul Nation and David Beglar. Answer: I studied the article from page 9 to 13. Question 2: Briefly explain how the test was developed. Answer: The vocabulary size test was developed to provide a reliable, accurate, and comprehensive measure of a learner’s vocabulary size from the 1st 1000 to the 14th 1000 word families of English. It is not a diagnostic measure like the Vocabulary Levels Test, but is a proficiency measure used to determine how much vocabulary learners know. This test was developed due to several reasons among which three are mentioned within the text. 1) The first reason is to see how close the learner is to having enough vocabulary to be able to perform certain tasks such as read a novel, read newspapers, watch movies, and listen to friendly conversations. 2) The second reason for measuring vocabulary size is to be able to chart the growth of learners’ vocabularies. There is virtually no information on how quickly non-native


speakers’ vocabularies grow. Measuring this requires a test capable of measuring a large range of vocabulary sizes both longitudinally and across a group of learners. 3) The third reason for measuring vocabulary size is to be able to compare nonnative speakers with native speakers. The sources of the words used in the vocabulary size test The development of the Vocabulary Size Test has been greatly helped by the development of the fourteen 1000 BNC word lists (Nation, 2006). The word family unit used in the fourteen 1000 BNC word family lists available at <www.vuw.ac.nz/lals/staff/paul-nation/nation.aspx> along with the Range program) is set at level 6 of Bauer and Nation’s (1993) scale of levels. The Vocabulary Size Test is based on the spoken corpus ordering and the lists available from <www.vuw.ac.nz/lals/staff/paul-nation/nation.aspx> are the lists based on the spoken corpus. The nature of vocabulary size test 1) The Vocabulary Size Test samples from the most frequent 14,000 word families of English. The test consists of 140 items (ten from each 1000 word level). 2) The multiple-choice format was chosen. 3) The test words were all put in a simple non-defining context. 4) The items measure receptive knowledge of vocabulary.


5) For the multiple-choice test items the choices were all written using a restricted vocabulary. Interpreting the test results Because there are ten items at each 1000 word level, each item in the test represents 100 word families. If a test-taker got every item correct, then it is assumed that that person knows the most frequent 14,000 word families of English. A test-taker’s score needs to be multiplied by 100 to get their total vocabulary size up to the 14th 1000 word family level. Question 3: Discuss the advantages and limitations of the test. (e.g., what knowledge or ability can/cannot be measured by this test? Is this an appropriate measure of non-native speakers’ vocabulary size, and why? Answer: When just one component of knowledge is tested, it is usually possible to test a large sample of items, and the test can thus claim to represent the learners’ total vocabulary. Such tests are called vocabulary “breadth” or “size” tests. It is a proficiency measure used to determine how much vocabulary learners know. However, these tests have been criticized for the superficial treatment of each item that is, testing an item on one component of knowledge only. The alternative to a size test is a “depth” test, on which each item is tested on several components of knowledge. The limitation of depth test is that the number of items that can be tested is limited and the test does not, therefore, represent the true vocabulary of the test taker.


Advantages of the test 1) The test uses multiple-choice format compared with the yes/no format which has the following advantages  To allow the test to be used with learners from a variety of language backgrounds.  To control the level of difficulty of the answers e.g. each item attempts to tap roughly the same degree of knowledge of a word.   To make marking as efficient and reliable as possible. To make learners demonstrate knowledge of each item.

2) It puts the tested word in a simple non-defining context which is a desirable feature. This is probably because it indicates the part of speech of the word, orients the testtaker to view it as an item of language use, and provides a little extra associational help in accessing the meaning. 3) The items measure receptive knowledge of vocabulary. That is, the learners are provided with the word form and have to access the meaning of the word. They need to have a moderately developed idea of the meaning of the word in order to be able to choose it from the four options. 4) Another advantage was that the defining word was always significantly more frequent than the item being defined.


5) Each item was put in a non-defining context. The contexts were chosen to reflect the most frequent environments for the item. And where the plural of an item was significantly more frequent than the singular, the context was made plural (e.g., standard). Limitations of the test 1) Because the test is a measure of receptive vocabulary size, a test-taker’s score provides little indication of how well these words could be used in speaking and writing. In addition, although vocabulary knowledge is the most important factor affecting the readability of a text (Klare, 1974), a test-taker’s score is only a rough indication of how well a learner can read. 2) The test cannot measure the learners’ progress in vocabulary learning because the native speakers may have a vocabulary more than 14,000 words, these 14,000 words, these words include all the most important words. 3) The test score and results are calculated such that the test-taker’s score needs to be multiplied by 100 to get their total vocabulary size up to the 14th 1000 word family level. But it is uncertain that someone knowing one word may have the vocabulary of 100 words. The results may be ambiguous. 4) In the test the most frequent words are used both in the questions and the answers so it will also affect the results because if someone has knowledge of one frequent word will not be a proof that he will have a vocabulary of 100 words of the same level.


Is this test appropriate for non-native speakers’ vocabulary size, and why? After I studied this test my opinion is that it is an appropriate measure of non-native speakers’ vocabulary size, although it has some limitations. I will mention a few reasons to support my opinion. 1) The level of difficulty of answers is controlled by making the test as a multiplechoice test. 2) Also the marking of the test due to the above mentioned reason, is efficient and reliable. 3) To test the vocabulary size of non-native speakers it is also a good idea to select the most frequent words. The test seems to be valid mostly for the new learners because the frequently used words are not so familiar to them which directly reflects on the vocabulary they have. But the point to keep in mind is that the test takers’ who are used to frequent words but may not have the vocabulary of non-frequent words can get good marks and it is a limitation of the test.