A Context-Aligned Two Thousand Test: Towards estimating high-frequency French vocabulary knowledge for beginner-to-low intermediate proficiency adolescent learners in England

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Abstract

Vocabulary knowledge strongly predicts second-language reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Yet, few tests have been developed to assess vocabulary knowledge in French. The primary aim of this pilot study was to design and initially validate the Context-Aligned Two Thousand Test (CA-TTT), following open research practices. The CA-TTT is a test of written form–meaning recognition of high-frequency vocabulary aimed at beginner-to-low-intermediate learners of French at the end of their fifth year of secondary education. Using an argument-based validation framework, we drew on classical test theory and Rasch modelling, together with correlations with another vocabulary size test and proficiency measures, to assess the CA-TTT’s internal and external validity. Overall, the CA-TTT showed high internal and external validity. Our study highlighted the decisive role of the curriculum in determining vocabulary knowledge in instructed, low-exposure contexts. We discuss how this might contribute to under- or over-estimations of vocabulary size, depending on the relations between the test and curriculum content. Further research using the tool is openly invited, particularly with lower-proficiency learners in this context. Following further validation, the test could serve as a tool for assessing high-frequency vocabulary knowledge at beginner-to-low-intermediate levels, with due attention paid to alignment with curriculum content.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage Testing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Apr 2024

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