Multidimensional Morphological Assessment for Middle School Students

Multidimensional Morphological Assessment for Middle School Students

First Author: Amanda Goodwin -- Vanderbilt University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Yaacov Petscher
Keywords: Morphology, Assessment, Adolescent, Vocabulary, Morphological knowledge
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Recent evidence suggests morphological knowledge is multidimensional. This study investigates the dimensionality of morphological knowledge and provides validity evidence for a multidimensional, computer-adaptive, gamified measure of morphological knowledge for upper elementary and middle school students.

Methods: Dimensionality of morphological knowledge was investigated via performance of 3,214 fifth through eighth graders on a range of morphological tasks (N=14 across the project’s development and 10 for dimensionality analyses) and items (N=491) using multiple-group item response modeling. Next, validation evidence related to performance of 1140 students on the morphological assessment, which consists of seven morphological tasks and 181 items that make four morphological skills, is presented. Specifically, marginal reliability, concurrent correlations, and links to a related standardized measure via hierarchical multiple regression modeling is computed.

Results: Results indicate morphological knowledge is multidimensional and best represented via a bifactor model of four skills as well as task-related variance. These skills are Skill 1: Morphological Awareness, Skill 2: Use of Syntactic Morphological Knowledge, Skill 3: Use of Semantic Morphological Knowledge, and Skill 4: Use of Phonological and Orthographic Morphological Knowledge. Also, the assessment designed after this model, called Monster, PI, was shown to be both reliable and valid with each morphological knowledge skill explaining additional variance in standardized reading vocabulary.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that morphological skills play an additive role in language and literacy outcomes. This indicates the importance of conceptualizing and assessing morphological knowledge as multidimensional. Implications for theory, research, policy, and practice are considered.