Narrow vocabulary ‘hits pupils’ grades’

Image copyright PA
Image caption Several teachers blame the problem on young children not reading enough for enjoyment

Monosyllabic adolescents may be nothing brand new, but the latest research suggests a huge chunk of them do not know enough phrases to do well at school.

According to academics, four away from 10 pupils in their first season of secondary school have this type of limited vocabulary that it is affecting their own learning.

Many instructors from the 800 secondaries involved in the Oxford University Press research say the issue is worsening.

They fault the “word gap” on not enough reading for pleasure.

Studies suggest breadth of language is strongly influenced by the variety of words a child comes into contact with every day.

This includes conversations along with parents, siblings and friends, along with what they read.


The document, focusing on schools in England, says the amount of pupils with limited vocabulary continues to be “stubbornly high” across all age groups, regardless of a range of programmes addressing literacy.

And 80% of the educators surveyed said children with restricted vocabulary would find it “extremely challenging” to understand test papers.

A very high proportion of the educators said the word gap held back again progress in not just English (91%), but in history (90%), geography (86%) and religious studies (78%).

Lionel Bolton, of the Oxford University Press, said: “Whether children is 11 years old and in 12 months 7, or 16 years old and Year 11, if there are phrases in a task that they do not understand, they are going to struggle to complete the task.

“The 11-year-old is likely to be capable to ask for help or access the dictionary; a 16 year old within their GCSE exam cannot.

“And if they do realize all the words in the task, in case their vocabulary is lower than their age, their own written response may be less state, less effective, and ultimately acquire a lower mark.

“This of course is not new – before thus.

“But with the changes that have been brought in from the new GCSE exams – improved rigour, removal of controlled assessment, plus tiering in most subjects – the particular vocabulary challenges posed are much more pronounced. ”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Organization of School and College Leaders : and an English teacher intended for 32 years – said: “In reality the word gap will depend on your needs rather than your choices – your home, your loved ones, the richness of language plus relations, the presence of books and discussions, the habits you form while you grow up.

“These are usually things largely beyond our manage. ”