Engaging
New Ideas in Education
A conversation with Dr. Hetty Roessingh
How many words do you know?
Language, learning and literacy for K-12 and beyond
7:00 – 8:15 pm
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Room 179, Education Classroom Block
Funding provided by:
(File Number 410-2006-2530)
The Prairie
Metropolis Centre
How many words do you know?
Background
• Arrival of over 1.1 million newcomers since 2001
• Canada has a selective immigration policy that favors the
best and the brightest
• Huge numbers raise questions about Canada’s ability to
fulfill the promises that draw so many here
Background
•
•
•
•
High SES backgrounds
High academic expectations
Desire for post-secondary studies at university
Want careers in professions (engineering, business, and
sciences)
• Determined, smart, tenacious
Background
• Immigrant children (and increasingly the Canadian born
children of immigrants) make up the future
• Canada needs these newcomers to go on to postsecondary studies
• Basis for a highly literate and well educated society
Background
• Facing a “double deficit”: the inability of first generation
immigrants to realize their potential due to language
barriers, followed by their children who are struggling
academically for the same reasons.
• Lost educational capital for the workplace and for
Canada’s future economic well being
Background
ESL Students in CBE Over Time
25000
Large
increase
in the
numbers
of coded
ESL
learners
in the
K-12
System
20000
15000
10000
5000
0
ESL Students
Coded for ESL
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
3338
3870
4649
5422
6113
6985
6803
8836
9666
10925
12190
15493
17613
20436
21000
Growing
Numbers
headed
for higher
education
What does it mean to
know a word and how do
we count them?
Quick Questions
1. At what grade level is the Calgary Herald written?
Grade ?
2. How well do you have to read to graduate from high school?
Grade ?
3. At what grade level are university textbooks written?
Grade ?
4. How long does it take for a child to learn conversational English?
Years ?
5. How long does it take for a child to learn academic English?
Years ?
Conversational vs. Academic English
Language Learning Trajectories
L1 trajectory (high socio-economic status) (pink line)
140000
120000
Vocabulary
100000
Grade 12 (80,000 - 100,000)
80000
Grade 11 (65,000)
60000
Grade 10 (40,000)
40000
Grade 9 (35,000)
Grade 8 (30,000)
Grade 7 (25,000)
Grade 6 (20,000)
20000
Grade 5 (15,000)
Grade 4 (12,000)
Grade 3 (10,000)
Grade 2 (8,000)
Grade 1 (5,000)
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Age
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Things to notice about the trajectory
1. Language learning is not linear, it is exponential
2. Distinct thresholds trigger accelerated growth forward, and
these are represented by the three stars
3. The first star marks the easy to get gains most children
seem to be able to achieve: the shift from learning to read
to reading to learn
4. The second star marks the shift to symbolic thinking that
not everyone is able to make
5. The third star marks the shift to advanced and accelerated
academic language
ESL trajectories for different age on arrival
(AOA) cohorts
How do ESL students stack
up in K-12 and beyond?
Canadian Born: Trajectory of Canadian Born children of
immigrants who received no/little ESL support (yellow line)
140000
120000
100000
Vocabulary
Grade 12 (80,000 - 100,000)
80000
Grade 11 (65,000)
60000
40000
Grade 10 (40,000)
Grade 9 (35,000)
20000
Grade 8 (30,000)
Grade 7 (25,000)
Grade 6 (20,000)
Grade 5 (15,000)
Grade 4 (12,000)
Grade 3 (10,000)
Grade 2 (8,000)
Grade 1 (5,000)
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Age
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Cohort A: Hypothetical trajectory of elementary aged arrivals who
received no/little ESL support (i.e. AOA ≤ 12) (red line)
140000
120000
100000
Vocabulary
Grade 12 (80,000 - 100,000)
80000
Grade 11 (65,000)
60000
40000
Grade 10 (40,000)
Grade 9 (35,000)
20000
Grade 8 (30,000)
Grade 7 (25,000)
Grade 6 (20,000)
Grade 5 (15,000)
Grade 4 (12,000)
Grade 3 (10,000)
Grade 2 (8,000)
Grade 1 (5,000)
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Age
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Cohort A: Hypothetical trajectory of elementary aged arrivals who
received no/little ESL support (i.e. AOA ≤ 12) (red line)
Cohort B: Young arrivals who received ESL support in high school
(dark purple line)
140000
120000
100000
Vocabulary
Grade 12 (80,000 - 100,000)
80000
Grade 11 (65,000)
60000
40000
Grade 10 (40,000)
Grade 9 (35,000)
20000
Grade 8 (30,000)
Grade 7 (25,000)
Grade 6 (20,000)
Grade 5 (15,000)
Grade 4 (12,000)
Grade 3 (10,000)
Grade 2 (8,000)
Grade 1 (5,000)
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Age
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Cohort B: Young arrivals who received ESL support in high school
(dark purple line)
If only . . . Earlier intervention
Cohort C: Jr. high aged arrivals who had ESL support at high school
age (i.e. AOA is 12 – 14) (brown line)
140000
120000
100000
Vocabulary
Grade 12 (80,000 - 100,000)
80000
Grade 11 (65,000)
60000
40000
Grade 10 (40,000)
Grade 9 (35,000)
20000
Grade 8 (30,000)
Grade 7 (25,000)
Grade 6 (20,000)
Grade 5 (15,000)
Grade 4 (12,000)
Grade 3 (10,000)
Grade 2 (8,000)
Grade 1 (5,000)
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Age
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Cohort C: Jr. high aged arrivals who had
ESL support at high school age
Cohort D: Sr. high arrivals who had ESL support (i.e. AOA is 15+)
(teal line)
140000
120000
100000
Vocabulary
Grade 12 (80,000 - 100,000)
80000
Grade 11 (65,000)
60000
40000
Grade 10 (40,000)
Grade 9 (35,000)
20000
Grade 8 (30,000)
Grade 7 (25,000)
Grade 6 (20,000)
Grade 5 (15,000)
Grade 4 (12,000)
Grade 3 (10,000)
Grade 2 (8,000)
Grade 1 (5,000)
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Age
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Cohort D: Sr. high arrivals who had ESL support
The Tipping Point
• The point in the trajectory at which you no longer have
recourse to L1
• At each AOA there is benefit to having recourse to L1
• For every AOA there is a certain meltdown of L1 that puts
students at risk
• Additive bilingualism: older arrivals
• Subtractive bilingualism: younger arrivals
• Regardless of AOA, for all of them there is a tipping point
at a certain point in time.
• All of the K-12 cohorts at are at risk in higher education
How many words are you using . . .
uncovering active vocabulary in Grade 9 PATs
Compleat Lexical Tutor (Cobb, 2009) www.lextutor.ca
Grade 9 PAT: ESL Student Pass (56%)
Grade 9 PAT: Acceptable
Grade 9 PAT: Excellence
Grade 9 PAT Vocabulary Profiles
ESL Pass
K1-K2
Acceptable
Excellence
96.87
96.26
90.7
AWL
0.09
0.56
2.59
Off-List
3.03
3.18
6.71
TTR
0.29
0.46
0.52
BNC 99%
3000 words
6000 words
9000 words
BNC Stretch
5000 words
10,000 words
15,000 words
Best Words
(last 1% of text)
angry, evil,
forever,
meanwhile,
nervous,
panic, disco,
tutor, gym,
yelled
garbage,
hallways, blazer,
trash
siblings, rundown,
indomitable,
gravitate,
megaphone
How many words are students using
in the Grade 9 PAT?
15
16
14
12
Number of Words
10
9
10
8
6
5
6
4
3
2
0
ESL 56%
Acceptable
Excellence
99%
3
6
9
Stretch
5
10
15
How many words do you need . . .
uncovering passive vocabulary
Compleat Lexical Tutor (Cobb, 2009) www.lextutor.ca
Language Sample:
Everyday communication - excerpt from “Friends” Season One
RACHEL
Oh God, come on you guys, is this really
necessary? I mean, I can stop charging
anytime I want.
MONICA
C'mon, you can't live off your parents your
whole life.
RACHEL
I know that. That's why I was getting married.
PHOEBE
Give her a break, it's hard being on your own
for the first time.
RACHEL
Thank you.
PHOEBE
You're welcome. I remember when I first
came to this city. I was fourteen. My mom
had just killed herself and my step-dad was
back in prison, and I got here, and I didn't
know anybody. And I ended up living with this
albino guy who was, like, cleaning
windshields outside port authority, and
then he killed himself, and then I found
aromatherapy. So believe me, I know
exactly how you feel.
FK Grade Level
ROSS
The word you're looking for is 'Anyway'...
MONICA
All right, you ready?
RACHEL
No. No, no, I'm not ready! How can I be
ready? "Hey, Rach! You ready to jump out
the airplane without your parachute?" Come
on, I can't do this!
MONICA
You can, I know you can!
RACHEL
I don't think so.
ROSS
Come on, you made coffee! You can do
anything! (Chandler slowly tries to hide the
now dead plant from that morning when he
and Joey poured their coffee into it.)
ROSS
C'mon, cut. Cut, cut, cut,... Cut, cut, cut, cut,
cut, cut,
cut... (She cuts one of them and they cheer.)
RACHEL
Y'know what? I think we can just leave it at
that. It's kinda like a symbolic gesture...
MONICA
Rachel! That was a library card!
ALL
Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut..
CHANDLER
(as Rachel is cutting up her cards) Y'know, if
you listen closely, you can hear a thousand
retailers scream. She finishes cutting them
up and they all cheer.
MONICA
Welcome to the real world! It sucks. You're
gonna love it!
FK Grade Level: 2.1
Web VP v3 (Cobb, 2009)
Vocabulary Profile:
K1-K2
96.31%
AWL
0.61%
Off-List 3.07%
BNC 99%: 6,000
BNC Stretch: 12,000
2.1 99% Coverage 6,000 words Stretch 12,000 words
Reading Sample: Calgary Herald
Explosion flattens southeast Calgary home
By Stephane Massinon and Chuck Chiang, Calgary Herald January 18, 2010
CALGARY - An explosion and fire in the southeast community of Penbrooke this morning levelled one home and
damaged two others, police and fire officials confirmed this morning.
Fire officials said they responded to multiple calls involving an explosion in the 1400 block of Pennsburg Drive S.E. at
roughly 4:30 a.m. this morning. Crews arriving on the scene said the house where the explosion took place was blown
apart, with one 10-feet-by-10-feet piece landing on the other side of the street.
No injuries were reported, but crews are stilling looking through the rubble to see if there were anyone caught in the
home during the explosion.
“That’s kind of the challenge we were faced with this morning. The majority of reports were that the place was vacant,”
said fire department spokesman Jeff Budai.
“And then one of the neighbours said he thought he saw a light on prior to the explosion.”
The two houses next to the home where the explosion took place also suffered structural damage, officials say. The
damage was so severe, crews say, that residents will have to find alternative accommodations for the immediate future.
“It was pretty bad. The walls in one house actually blew into (the other) a few feet. It actually pushed the furniture into
the middle of their room," said Budai.
Fire and arson investigators are looking into the cause of the explosion.
FK Grade Level: 9.2
Web VP v3 (Cobb 2009) Vocabulary Profile:
K1-K2 90.98 / AWL 5.15 / Off-List 3.86
BNC 99%: 5,000 / BNC Stretch: 7,000
FK Grade Level
9.2 99% Coverage 5,000 words Stretch 7,000 words
Reading Sample: Biology 20
Adaptation and Change, Chapter 4, pp 96 – 115, Biology, Nelson
Theory of Natural Selection:
Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection can be divided into five distinct ideas:
Overproduction
Struggle for existence (competition)
Variation
Survival of the fittest (natural selection)
Origin of new3 species by inheritance of successful variations
By briefly examining the main ideas, it is possible to understand the basis of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.
Overproduction. In simple terms, overproduction means that the number of offspring produced by a species is greater than the number that
can survive, reproduce, and live to maturity. For example, if the millions of eggs laid annually by a female codfish were to survive to adulthood,
the oceans would be filled solid with codfish in a few short years. However this does not happen, because only a few survived and reproduce.
Darwin’s concept of overproduction was influenced by Thomas Malthus’s Essay on population, written in 1798. The essay pointed out that while
populations of organisms increase geometrically, the arithmetic progression. The resulting gap between the two explains the idea of
overproduction.
Struggle for existence. (competition). Because of overproduction, organisms of the same species, as well as those of different species, must
compete for limited resources such as food, water, and a place to live.
Variation. Differences among traits occur among members of the same species. Therefore, no two individuals are exactly alike. Darwin
believed that these variations (including acquired variations) are passed on to the next generation.
Survival of the fittest. (natural selection). Those individuals in a species with traits that give them an advantage (those that are well adapted to
their environment) are better able to compete, survive, and reproduce. All others die off without leaving offspring. Since nature selects the
organisms that survive, the process is called natural selection.
Origin of new species (speciation). Over numerous generations, new species arise by the accumulation of inherited variations. When a type is
produced that is significantly different from the original, it becomes a new species.
FK Grade Level: 10.8
Web VP v3 (Cobb 2009) Vocabulary Profile:
K1-K2 82.16 / AWL 10.15 / Off-List 7.69
BNC 99%: 8,000 / BNC Stretch: 17,000
FK Grade Level
10.8 99% Coverage 8,000 words Stretch 17,000 words
Reading Sample: 1st Year Textbook
1st Year Biology Textbook
Although the atom is the smallest unit having the physical and chemical properties of its
element, these tiny bits of matter are composed of even smaller parts called subatomic particles.
Physicists have split the atom into more than a hundred types of particles, but only three kinds of
particles are stable enough to be of relevance here: neutrons, protons, and electrons. Neutrons
and protons are packed together tightly to form a dense core, or nucleus, at the center of the atom.
The electrons move about this nucleus at nearly the speed of light (Figure 2.3).
Electrons and protons are electrically charged. Each electron has one unit of negative
charge, and each proton has one unit of positive charge (Table 2.2). A neutron, as its name
implies, is electrically neutral. The atomic nucleus is positive because of the presence of protons,
and it is the attraction between opposite charges that keeps the rapidly moving electrons in the
vicinity of the nucleus.
The neutron and proton are almost identical in mass, each about
0.0000000000000000000000017 gram, much more conveniently written 1.7 x 10-24 g. Grams and
other conventional units are not very useful for describing the mass of objects so minuscule. Thus,
for atoms and subatomic particles, scientists use a unit of measurements called the atomic mass
unit (amu), also called the dalton in honour of John Dalton, the English chemist and physicist who
helped develop atomic theory around 1800. Neutrons and protons have a mass of almost exactly 1
dalton apiece (actually 1.007 and 1.009, respectively, but close enough to 1 for our purposes).
Because the mass of an electron is only about 1/2000 that of a neutron or proton, we can ignore
electrons when computing the total mass of an atom.
FK Grade Level: 14.4
Web VP v3 (Cobb 2009) Vocabulary Profile:
K1-K2 78.57 / AWL 5.44 / Off-List 15.99
BNC 99%: 10,000 / BNC Stretch: 10,000
FK Grade Level
14.4 99% Coverage 10,000 words Stretch 10,000 words
Reading Sample: 1st Year Textbook
1st Year Canadian Studies Book of Readings
CNST 231: Introduction to Canadian Studies
A Unique Relationship
How do we begin to analyse a relationship as complex as that between Canada and the United States?
There are no obvious models or appropriate cases on which to base a comparison. The example
sometimes used, that of the European Union (EU), conjures up the wrong images. There are 15 EU
members, not two, and its major members are more comparable in size than the dramatic asymmetry in
population and gross domestic product (GDP) that characterizes the Canada-US case. Most important,
the members of the EU agreed in the Treaty of Rome to the eventual establishment of an economic
union, in other words, the pooling of their individual national sovereignties for the creation of a new,
larger entity. There are common EU policies across a range of areas, a number of supranational
institutions that make and implement these policies, since January 1999 a common currency and a
European central bank, and, as of the beginning of March 2000, a new institutional arm to handle
defence issues.
Flesch Kincaid Grade Level: 16.0
Web VP v3 (Cobb 2009) Vocabulary Profile:
K1-K2 82.63 / AWL 13.77 / Off-List 3.59
BNC 99%: 13,000 / BNC Stretch: 14,000
FK Grade Level
16.0 99% Coverage 13,000 words Stretch 14,000 words
Summary of Reading Demands
Sample
99% Coverage
FK Grade Level
TV Show “Friends”
6000 words
2.1
The Calgary Herald
5000 words
9.2
Biology 20 Textbook
8000 words
10.8
Biology Textbook
(1st Yr)
10,000 words
14.4
Canadian Studies
Article
13,000 words
16.0
After High School . . .
University
Dr. Hetty Roessingh’s Graduate Student:
Scott Roy Douglas, PhD (Candidate)
Graduate Division of Educational Research, University of Calgary
How many words are you using . . .
at university
The Government of Alberta is proposing to institute a
mandatory physical education course for all students from
kindergarten to Grade 12. Do you support this proposal?
Vocabulary Footprint of a
Native English Speaking 1st Year University Student
Vocabulary Footprint of a
Non-Native English Speaking 1st Year University Student
Choosing the right words:
Reliance on the first 2000 words of English
Reliance on the first 2000 words of English
90
89
88
87
86
85
84
NS
NNES
Choosing the right words:
Usage of the Academic Word List
Usage of the Academic Word List
7.8
7.6
7.4
7.2
7
6.8
6.6
6.4
6.2
6
5.8
NS
NNES
Choosing the right words:
Usage of Vocabulary Beyond the First 2000 Words of English
Usage of Vocabulary Beyond the First 2000 Words of English
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
NS
NNES
Choosing the right words:
how many words are they using?
14
11.52
12
9.01
10
8
7
5.67
6
4
2
0
NS
NNES
BNC 99%
BNC Stretch
7
11.52
5.67
9.01
Choosing the right words:
How many $50 words are in their essays?
0.8
BNC K8+
Ratio
(K8+Words/
Total
Words)*100
3 “good” words in a 400 word essay
0.7
0.6
catalyst
0.5
sedentary
0.4
cardiovascular
1 “good” word in a 400 word essay
0.3
0.2
spatula
0.1
0
K8+Ratio
NS
NNES
0.69
0.29
Using a wide variety of words:
NS first year essays are shorter with more variety of words
0.445
0.44
0.435
0.43
0.425
0.42
0.415
0.41
0.405
0.4
0.395
Type Token Ratio
NS
NNES
0.44
0.41
Using words accurately:
What can go wrong
Besides, being a good observator is an attribute in understanding widely
and managing professionally to have a leadership.
Using words accurately:
1st Year NNES students make more vocabulary mistakes
1.2
1
word error per 100 words
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
Word Error Ratio
Less than 2
mistakes in
a 400 word
essay
More than 4
mistakes in
a 400 word
essay
NS
NNES
0.42
1.12
NNES Students at University = Success!
77
76%
76
75
74
73
72%
72
71
70
Success
NS
NNES
72
76
Required to withdraw at
some point in the course of their studies
25
22%
20
15
10
6%
5
0
RTW
NS
NNES
6
22
Placed on academic probation
at some point in their studies
33%
35
30
25
20
15
14%
10
5
0
AP
NS
NNES
14
33
Grade Point Average
3
2.93
2.9
Note:
2.8
NS = 52% > 3.0
2.7
vs. NNES = 26% > 3.0
2.6
2.51
2.5
2.4
2.3
GPA
NS
NNES
2.93
2.51
Courses attempted and paid for
but not earned
6
$516.09 per ½ course =
5
4
5.46
NS $1104.43
NNES $2817.85
(diff = $1713.42)
3
2.14
2
1
0
CANE
NS
NNES
2.14
5.46
Total Semesters
14
12
10
Note Spring Summer Semesters:
NS=2 NNES=4
12
9
8
6
4
2
0
Total Semesters
NS
NNES
9
12
Conclusions
• Size matters
• Breadth and depth of vocabulary is
important
• Mobilize what you have by making good
choices
• Higher studies demand an apt and
precise vocabulary
• It’s harder than you think
Implications and Future Directions
• Informs:
– Policy
– Pedagogic practices
– Programming
– Provision of support services
Next Steps
•
•
•
Larger scale study
More refined analysis
Using the findings for practical ends that target policy
reforms, faculty in-service on pedagogical practices,
counseling service, programming (adjunct courses,
sheltered courses, English upgrades, credit for EAP
courses, etc.), working more collaboratively with local
school boards to enhance and strengthen ESL services
–iEAP
– (intensive English for Academic Purposes)
Questions, Comments,
Conclusions?
Hetty Roessingh, PhD
Faculty of Education, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta. T2N 1N4
[email protected]
Statistical analyses were carried out with the Statistics for Vocab Research webpage on the Compleat Lexical Tutor website
(Cobb, 2009) using the t-Test for Independent Samples (P<0.05).
Lexical Profiling was carried out with the tools available on the Complete Lexical Tutor website (Cobb, 2009).
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