Date of Award

Spring 1991

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Not legible

Second Advisor

Arthur E. Smith

Third Advisor

Not legible


The purpose of this study is to examine the methods by which unknown words are taught in order to discover if there is any method that is more beneficial for students who are considered to be ‘at risk.’ The methods examined include the isolated word method using flash cards, the minimal context method using phrases, and the pedagogical method using sentences. The effectiveness of these methods is measured through the examination of pretest and posttest scores. Three groups of elementary students who had been previously identified by testing as

‘at risk’ were selected to each use a specific method. Pretesting showed no statistically significant difference between these groups. For two consecutive weeks, each group met daily for two hours. A posttest was then administered with the same vocabulary inventory as was used in the pretest. The author found that overall, the results did not clearly recommend one teaching technique over the others. The methods which involved context did show higher improvement than the isolated flash card approach. This suggests that context may stimulate a student’s cognitive skills, though too much information could be distracting.