A Comprehensive Definition of Morphological Awareness: Implications for Assessment

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Abstract

Purpose:

Although there is an increasing body of evidence for the important role morphological awareness plays in written language development, there is little consensus on a fully specified definition of this linguistic awareness ability. Without agreement on a definition, several problems arise, at least one of which impacts researchers' and practitioners' ability to fully and consistently assess students' morphological awareness abilities.

Method:

In the first portion of this article, I discuss insufficiencies with current definitions of morphological awareness and propose a more comprehensive definition. Following this, I relate the implications of this new definition for assessment: the inability of current norm-referenced tests and experimenter-designed tasks to meet the definition and considerations from the research to keep in mind about stimuli on morphological awareness tasks.

Conclusion:

In the final segment of the article, I provide implications and suggestions for practitioners who wish to assess morphological awareness in a comprehensive manner, using the new definition as a guide to measure students' morphological awareness abilities.

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