Measuring vocabulary at early ages: Introducing Pic-lex (pp. 66-75), Thomaï Alexiou


Measuring vocabulary at early ages: Introducing Pic-lex
Thomaï Alexiou


A series of recent research studies highlight the significance of vocabulary and suggest that vocabulary development is paramount in the successful development of a foreign/second language even by very young learners (Biemiller, 2003; Alexiou, Roghani & Milton, 2019). The number of words a learner knows is considered a decisive factor on the performance in all aspects of language (Webb & Nation, 2017). For this reason, modern curricula now seek to be more precise over the volumes of vocabulary that learners are expected to acquire at all levels. Therefore, measuring vocabulary size systematically is vital both in monolingual and multilingual settings while it can lead us to a much needed model of vocabulary acquisition at an early age. The particular paper presents an updated version of Pic-lex (Alexiou, 2020), an easy to administer, dyslexia-friendly, theoretically well-founded online testing tool, which is intended for very young learners up to primary age. This game-like test makes assessment of receptive vocabulary size from picture cues. The vocabulary word items are not randomly selected; words are based on updated frequency wordlists while the scores provide an estimate of receptive vocabulary knowledge that can be matched to CEFR levels.


Key words: vocabulary, assessment, young learners, preschoolers, frequency, vocabulary size, CEFR, Pre-A1