Evaluating Morphological Awareness Assessments

Many studies have shown that morphological awareness (MA), defined as “a conscious understanding of how words can be broken down into smaller units of meaning” (Tighe & Binder, 2015, p. 246), has effects on reading comprehension separate from other aspects of language knowledge (e.g., phonological awareness, vocabulary size). This separability has implications for reading instruction and assessment: it suggests that children could have reading comprehension difficulties that are due to a lack of morphological knowledge, and thus, that explicit instruction of morphological decomposition might be warranted in some cases. To find such children, we would need good tests of morphological knowledge. In this project we evaluate a set of commonly used MA assessments to assess whether they conclusively tapped into morphological knowledge (explicit or implicit) alone. We found that it was not possible to be certain that they were pure tests of morphological knowledge. All of the MA tests we examined have been shown to be related to reading comprehension and so clearly measure something that is related to reading skill – something which could be morphological knowledge. However, as we cannot be certain that they measure morphological knowledge alone they are difficult to use as an intervention-determining assessment.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

9:45 PDT
10:45 MDT
12:45 EDT
13:45 ADT
17:45 BST

Research Team

Dr. Carla Hudson Kam
Professor in Linguistics
University of British Columbia

Dr. Jenny Thomson
Co-Lead, Technology & New Media
Sheffield University, UK

Dr. Carrie Demmans Epp
Co-Lead, Language Background &.Culture
Assistant Professor Dept. of Computing Science, Director EdTeKLA Research Group
University of Alberta

Emily Sadlier-Brown
PhD Student, Linguistics
University of British Columbia

Shannon Clark
MSc Student, Computing Science
University of Alberta

Chelsea Jang
University of British Columbia