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ERIC Number: EJ1180312
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0192-401X
Using VocabularySpellingCity with Adult ESOL Students in Community College
Krause, Tim
ORTESOL Journal, v35 p43-46 2018
Vocabulary acquisition is central to language learning, and many instructors believe that technology can facilitate this core activity. While numerous websites and apps offer language-learning activities and games, not all provide evidence that their content and techniques are effective. VocabularySpellingCity (VSC), however, commissioned a study in 2016 to document its effectiveness. Researchers at McREL, a nonprofit education research and development organization, found favorable results among mostly native English-speaking primary school students, including a 43% increase in vocabulary retention scores as measured by pre- and post-tests of 143 students in a southeastern U.S. elementary school (Arens & Mace, 2017). VSC is a website and app that provide users with activities to learn vocabulary, spelling, phonics, and writing. Instructors create study lists by specifying words, definitions, and sample sentences before assigning activities. They can also monitor individual student progress (scores) as well as participation (time spent and number of activities completed). Although designed for K-12 students, VSC is popular among the author's community college colleagues, and the author of this article was interested in learning if findings by McREL hold true for adult ESOL students. Therefore, in fall 2017, Tim Krause conducted a study similar to Arens & Mace (2017) that involved 22 intermediate writing students and 18 academic reading students at Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon. Krause wanted to know if students who chose to use VSC would demonstrate greater improvement in vocabulary retention compared to those who chose other study methods. The results indicate that if community college instructors identify best practices and carefully curate the experience, then the data suggest their adult ESOL students are likely to benefit from using VSC.
Oregon Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. PO Box 15148, Portland, OR 97293. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Elementary Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oregon (Portland)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
What Works Clearinghouse Reviewed: Does Not Meet Evidence Standards