James S. Etim


Vocabulary knowledge has been found to be crucial for academic achievement. In Nigeria, English is the second language for many students and also the language of instruction beginning from grade 3. The need to measure the vocabulary size and also encourage vocabulary instruction is not only necessary but paramount for student achievement in school. The purpose of the study was to find out if (a) there is a difference in word size (vocabulary development) based on gender? (b) there is a relationship between reading interest and word size? (c) there is difference between gender and the ability to generate abstract words? (d) there is difference between number of books at home and vocabulary size? (e) there is a significant difference between school type and word size? Five secondary schools in Jos metropolis of Plateau State, Nigeria were selected for the study. Of the five schools, there were two Government Day secondary schools (non- boarding school), a Government Secondary school (boarding), a private day (non-boarding) and a private boarding school. Students completed “The Vocabulary Development of Secondary School Students Questionnaire” developed for the study. Only students present during the day of the administration were allowed to complete the questionnaire. 270 usable questionnaires were completed and formed the basis for the analysis. It was found that female word size was significantly higher than those of the female subjects, that there were also able to generate more abstract words and that school type had a significant influence on word size for all subject. Based on these findings, t was recommended that teachers and schools do more in teaching vocabulary to all students and develop strategies to engage male students. 


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