Poor grades for state kids’ vocabulary

December 10, 2012

Students in California elementary schools score poorly in vocabulary usage, according to results of a national standardized test. (San Jose Mercury News)

Vocabulary is vital to students’ ability to read well.

Both fourth- and eighth-grade students from the Golden State ranked 45th, with only the District of Columbia, Alaska, Louisiana and New Mexico lower on the list.

“What you’re seeing is a lack of vision in educational leadership across the board in California,” said Arun Ramanathan, executive director of the Oakland-based advocacy group Education Trust-West. “Students are not getting access in early grades to high-quality reading instruction.”

The so-called “Nation’s Report Card,” by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, issued the report, which compiles results from tests given in 2009 and 2011.

California’s students were 9 points lower than the national average.


12 Comments

  1. r0y says:

    “Vocabulary is vital to students’ ability to read well.”

    I think this is putting the cart before the horse. Reading is what leads to good vocabulary.

    CA translation:
    Like reading n’ stuff, is like, you know, like this really important like thing, you know? Like it helps with stuff and like, you know?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  2. thinkaboutit says:

    You raise good points with regard to environment. I believe that’s one reason why home schooled children often surpass their public schooled counterparts in this way and often seem to be more at ease in conversing with adults. When you have 20 to 30 peers in a classroom and one (maybe 2) adults in a classroom interacting with them, there’s a relative lack of adult interaction compared to a child in a home school situation. Home schooled children with older siblings may also benefit from interaction with them, also.

    I’m not saying home schooling is the only way, as each child differs in what works for them. However, I find that to be, by far, more of the norm than the exception. Considering this advantage, it’s just no surprise to me that home schooled children often succeed in spelling bees, writing contests and debate competitions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  3. Zuma7 says:

    Can’t say I’m surprised. In SanDiego, we have hundreds who can’t speak English either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

    • r0y says:

      Hundreds? Just hundreds? You might want to re-count.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    • Robert1 says:

      According to Professor Vyacheslav Ivanov of UCLA, there are at least 224 identified languages in Los Angeles County.
      This does not include differing dialects. Professor Ivanov estimates that publications are locally produced in about 180 of these languages. Only 92 languages have been specifically identified among students of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
      http://www.laalmanac.com/LA/la10b.htm

      Immigration Legal and Illegal is a problem.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  4. easymoney says:

    And to think they just want mo money, mo money…
    You can throw all the money in the world at something but until there is accountability and performance based salaries we will still have dumb kids.
    And of course, all learning begins in the home, especially vocabulary. If all a child hears is slang, swearing and dumb speak used by much of todays younger generations, then it figures that is what they too will speak.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  5. Jorge Estrada says:

    What was Oakland thinking for their schools to considered EBONICS? There is a good chance that they were working on a special langage for California, one you can’t understand, to be used for explaining our new taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  6. SLOTECH90 says:

    Reading involves two skill sets: Decoding (pronunciation, basically), and Vocabulary (comprehension of what the word I just decoded means). They can develop over different pathways and at different rates. Decoding is generally the emphasis in the first few grades. Vocabulary also develops over two different pathways: Receptive (the words I recognize or can kinda figure out from contextual cues), and Expes-
    sive ) the words I use on a daily basis in all social situations). Children at pre-school age and beyond,
    depending on their envuironment (besides but not excluding school), do develop a larger Receptive than Expressive Vocabulary, but it depends on the quality of the conversations going on, the language heard and the amount of exposure to older role models. As with EVERYTHING else, this Vocabulary development begins at home. Using the buzz words “lack of vision in educational leadership (oxymoron?) ” causes me to wanna go outside and practice my projectil vomiting!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

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