Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Susan Rattan

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the impact of student behavior on vocabulary knowledge development across three groups of kindergarteners: Intervention, Control, and Reference. Kindergarten students (n = 1132) from forty schools across Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Oregon completed a vocabulary program approximately 20 weeks in duration, including an additional vocabulary intervention for students in the Intervention group. Each student was assessed on four different vocabulary knowledge measures before and after completion of the vocabulary program, using both standardized and experimenter-developed formats: Target Receptive, Target Expressive, PPVT-4, and EVT-2. Results showed significant impact on vocabulary outcomes by classroom behavior and across groups of students. Students who received the supplemental vocabulary intervention performed as well, or better than reference peers on experimenter-developed measures of target words. Additionally, intervention student behavior was considered between whole-class and small group settings; however, no significant effects were found on vocabulary knowledge outcomes. These results suggest that while behavior did not have an impact on vocabulary knowledge outcomes in this study, all students successfully made considerable gains in vocabulary knowledge upon completion of this vocabulary program and intervention.

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