Cashflow 101 Experiment – Part 2: Developing a vocabulary assessment

Feel free to skip this one… It’s a bit on the technical side. But I wanted to document how I developed a couple of targeted diagnostic assessments. These relate to my Cashflow 101 experiment that I’m running at the moment.

This one relates to the vocabulary used in the game. I’ll do a separate post on the numeracy diagnostic that I created.

Cashflow 101 is a board game that teaches financial literacy. As you play the game you learn how the concepts work. But there is a bit of jargon and technical lingo to learn as well.

You also have to do some maths as you play the game. But that’s for another post. Ultimately, I want to gamify the course and qualification that I teach.

What I wanted to do here was develop a couple of assessments that test what people know before learning the game. These needed to focus on context specific vocabulary and numeracy skills.

Below is my process for developing the diagnostic assessments. These are my pre and post tests for the experiment.

Vocabulary Word Bank

First of all, I needed to come up with a bank of words to work from. I found a PDF version of the instructions online and uploaded this to the online Vocab Profiler.

I’ve written about how I’ve used this tool before. It’s not perfect, but it acts like a kind of filter to help me focus.

Once I submitted the text, the Vocab Profiler sorted the words according to frequency (in other words how often they are used).

I printed out the frequency lists and then made my own selection for the word bank.

You can see my print out and working in the image at the top of this page.

I used the lists to develop a word bank of technical words. Here’s a shot of the first page of the word bank. I’ve added in the definitions.

The key is as follows:

• 1K = First thousand words of English
• 2K = Second thousand words of English
• AWL = Academic Word List
• Off list = Words not in the 1K, 2K, or AWL

In terms of the Learning Progressions that we use in New Zealand, most of the vocabulary that’s interesting is probably Step 4, 5, and 6. Mainly step 6 or Off List according to the Vocab Profiler.

From the word bank I developed the vocabulary assessment. Here’s a screenshot of the first page:

On retrospect I think I was a bit overzealous. There were 38 words in my vocabulary assessment. That’s too many. Feel free to revise it for me.

My preferred format for vocabulary assessments is what I call a partial cloze. I gap out part of the word in a sentence. It’s simple and easy to do.

The person taking the test should be able to get some of the meaning from context. And a bit of a hint from the first few letters.

If they know the word, but can’t spell it they might have a go at writing it. But if they don’t know the word, the context and letters aren’t enough to give the game away.

When I mark it, I mark it once for correct spelling and then a second time for word knowledge (i.e. if it’s clear they know the word but just can’t spell it).

If you’re interested, you can download and use any of the following. Let me know in the comments if you do.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...