Measuring the lexical richness in English majors’ answers to examination papers
Language classes are expected to foster the growth in the size of students’ vocabulary, first receptively and then productively. Recent test data have indicated a significant growth in students’ productive – as opposed to receptive – vocabulary size in the course of one academic year (Hajiyeva, 2015a). This study investigates the relative pace of the growth in the size of productive vocabulary; it includes data for free productive vocabulary knowledge with the intention of exploring the growth in students’ vocabulary after ten months of instruction. This required a measurement of the lexical richness as expressed in students’ answers to examination papers. The results show that due to increased exposure to various subjectspecific courses, students increase their productive vocabulary knowledge. The findings also indicate that such growth does not ensure that students’ written answers to examination papers are always accurate in terms of meaning, form, associations, collocations and register. The potential implications of the findings for language teaching and learning are discussed briefly.
Key words: lexical richness, productive vocabulary, academic words, lowfrequency words, answers to examination papers