Testing It Right: Assessing Vocabulary Breadth and Depth and Their Roles in Adult's Reading Comprehension




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This study examined relationships among vocabulary breadth, vocabulary depth, and reading comprehension in adults. The focus of the study was to determine the construct of vocabulary knowledge and how these components influenced reading comprehension among Adult Basic Education (ABE) students. Participants were 71 adults who were currently enrolled in ABE programs in Massachusetts. They were asked to complete a total of 12 tasks known to measure vocabulary breadth, depth, and reading comprehension. First, we found that our assessments are reliable in testing vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. Moreover, results showed vocabulary knowledge consists of at least two dimensions: vocabulary breadth and vocabulary depth. Second, we also found that each component made a significant independent contribution to explain reading comprehension. Finally, the research proposed some suggestions for vocabulary instruction for ABE participants.



vocabulary, breadth and depth, adult, education, reading comprehension