The influence of academic vocabulary knowledge on school performance

Faculty/Professorship: Developmental Psychology  
Author(s): Schuth, Elisabeth ; Köhne, Judith; Weinert, Sabine  
Title of the Journal: Learning and instruction : the journal of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI)
ISSN: 1873-3263
Publisher Information: Amsterdam [u.a.] : Elsevier Science
Year of publication: 2017
Volume: 49
Pages: 157-165
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2017.01.005
While academic language is often assumed to impact children's school success, evidence for this claim is still limited. One reason is the lack of empirically sound test measures for academic language that are based on clear conceptualizations. In a study with 173 German fourth graders we investigated whether academic vocabulary knowledge predicts children's performance in school beyond general vocabulary knowledge, employing newly developed tasks to assess academic vocabulary. Analyses reveal that academic vocabulary rather than general vocabulary predicts grades in four subjects, controlling for age, gender, language background, and nonverbal cognitive abilities. These results support the claim that already in primary school academic language proficiency significantly influences academic careers.
Keywords: Academic language, Academic vocabulary knowledge, General vocabulary knowledge, School performance, Primary school
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
Year of publication: 3. March 2017
Project: Bildungssprachliche Kompetenzen: Anforderungen, Sprachverarbeitung und Diagnostik (Kooperationsprojekt; BiSpra II)