The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

December 7, 2012

Drop in vocabulary scores ‘troubling’

Teachers say more programs, more reading outside of school will help

(Continued)

OTTUMWA — Samples of vocabulary questions, answers

Samples of vocabulary questions and how Iowa fourth-graders scored versus fourth-graders nationwide:

“On page 4, the article says that Marian Anderson performed in many prestigious locations. This means that she sang in places that were: A) far away from each other; B) famous and important; C) open to people of all races; or D) large and crowded.”

The correct answer, B was guessed by only 26 percent of Iowa fourth-graders and 29 percent of fourth-graders nationwide. The majority, 40 percent, of Iowa fourth-graders chose C, as did 34 percent of fourth-graders nationwide.

“On page 3, the author of the biographical sketch notes that E. B. White’s cross-country trip gave him ‘a lifetime of anecdotes.’ The author is pointing out that on the trip White: A) caught a life-threatening illness; B) had many experiences to talk about; C) made several very good friends; or D) learned to get by on little money.”

The correct answer, B, was guessed by 80 percent of Iowa fourth-graders and 79 percent of fourth-graders nationwide.

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