Beginning with the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessment, a new subset of items will be introduced with the intent of measuring vocabulary in context. The assessment’s item format requires an examinee to locate a targeted word in the reading passage. It was reasoned that presenting these items along with ‘word locator cues’ might help reduce construct irrelevant variance due to students’ differential ability in searching the targeted word. Using a sample of 1323 fourth and eight grade students, this study investigated the effects of two such ‘word locator cues’ on student performance: numbering the lines of the passage, and printing targeted words in boldface type. The results indicated that various format conditions (with and without cues) do not influence student performance on the vocabulary items after controlling for reading comprehension. On the other hand, at both fourth and eighth grade, we detected interactions between format conditions and race/ethnicity, which suggested that word locator cues appear to hurt the performance of certain subgroups. Implications of these findings for NAEP’s future reading assessments are discussed. Accessed 11,314 times on https://pareonline.net from October 04, 2007 to December 31, 2019. For downloads from January 1, 2020 forward, please click on the PlumX Metrics link to the right.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.