NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1021272
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0734-2829
Changes in Word Usage Frequency May Hamper Intergenerational Comparisons of Vocabulary Skills: An Ngram Analysis of Wordsum, WAIS, and WISC Test Items
Roivainen, Eka
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, v32 n1 p83-87 Feb 2014
Research on secular trends in mean intelligence test scores shows smaller gains in vocabulary skills than in nonverbal reasoning. One possible explanation is that vocabulary test items become outdated faster compared to nonverbal tasks. The history of the usage frequency of the words on five popular vocabulary tests, the GSS Wordsum, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R), Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R) IQ tests, was analyzed by means of the Google ngram viewer. Usage frequency had a 0.38 to 0.73 correlation with item difficulty. In the period between test standardizations, the median change in usage frequency was -17% for WISC words, -8% for Wordsum, -5% for WISC-R, -4% for WAIS, and 0% for WAIS-R words. The correlation between median change in usage frequency and gain in vocabulary score was 0.33. Further studies with a larger set of vocabulary tests are needed to analyze in more detail the magnitude of the effect of changing word usage frequencies.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale; Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A