Vocabulary Assessment

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There are some quick ways to determine what vocabulary words to teach your students. Isabel Beck’s Vocabulary Tiers is a great reminder to teach Tier 2 words. Tier 1 words most students already know, and Tier 3 words are content area specialized words. Tier 2 words should be taught since these will be seen in various content areas but may not be known by all students. These often include Latin-based words. Here are some other tips for identifying whether or not a student already knows a word:

  • Cloze Assessment: Have sentences or a paragraph prepared with vocabulary words missing. Have students choose vocabulary words from a word bank to place in the correct sentences.
  • 4, 3, 2, 1: Have students rate their knowledge for given vocabulary words: 
    • 4: I know the word and can explain it to others
    • 3: I have heard of the word and can use it in a sentence.
    • 2: I have seen it, but don’t know what it means. 
    • 1: I’ve never seen it and don’t know what it means.


Focus on 3-5 key vocabulary words that will benefit students across all areas of content. Immerse your students with the words throughout each day!