REAP Comparison to Classroom Instruction (Fall 2006)

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This paper focuses on the long-term retention and production of instructed vocabulary in an intensive English program (IEP). The paper draws on the practical framework of Coxhead (2001) and Nation (2005) and the theoretical perspectives of Laufer & Hulstijn (2001). The project collected data from over 150 ESL learners over a period of 1.5 years. The vocabulary instruction occurred in intermediate level reading class (intermediate =TOEFL 450 or iBT TOEFL 45). All learners spent 40 minutes per week for 9 weeks reading texts containing words from the Academic Word List. The words were highlighted and learners could click to access on-line definitions. A subset of the learners' normal in-class vocabulary instruction was tracked for two semesters. Pre-, post and delayed post-test data were collected for the CALL vocabulary learning and the in-class learning. In addition, during this period, all of the students' writing assignments were collected on-line. From this database of written output, each student’s texts were analyzed to determine which words seen during computer training and regular reading class had transferred to their spontaneous output in compositions in their writing class. Results indicate that although the CALL practice led to recognition one semester later, only the words which were practiced during regular reading class vocabulary instruction transferred to their spontaneous writing. This transfer effect is attributed to the output practice and deeper processing that occurred during the regular vocabulary instruction. The data also showed that the production of words seen in the CALL condition alone suffered from errors in word recognition (‘clang’ associations) and morphological form errors (Schmitt & Meara, 1997). We conclude that these data suggest that some negative views on output practice by Folse (2006) and Barcroft (2005) must be modified to accommodate these data.


In the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2007, we followed learners using REAP and also tracked the in class vocabulary instruction led by teachers.

The Reading 4 curriculum supervisor decided on a list of Academic Word List vocabulary items that had been excluded from the tests that the students took to establish their focus word lists. This list included 58 items that in her view the students should know. These words also appeared in the learners' text books.