Skip to Content

Vocabulary Knowledge Rating Chart

Before beginning radicals with my Algebra 1 students, I had my students complete a Vocabulary Knowledge Rating Chart.  I created a book type foldable with three of these (identical) charts for my students to glue in their interactive notebooks.  This was my first idea to try out from Styles and Strategies for Teaching High School Mathematics

vocabulary knowledge rating chart

I chose the thirteen most important vocabulary words to know for our unit on radicals.  For each vocabulary term, students had to circle 1, 2, 3, or 4.  1 stands for “I’ve never heard of the term.”  2 means “I’ve seen or heard of this term before.”  An answer of 3 represents “I think I know this term.”  And, 4 means “I know the term and can explain it.”

I had students fill out this vocabulary knowledge survey for the first time before I taught anything related to radicals.  Students circled the numbers that reflected their current level of understanding.  Some of my students were a little frustrated with this activity because they didn’t know what any of these words meant.  I explained that this was okay because we hadn’t started the unit yet.  Students then added up all of the circled numbers to arrive at their “Vocabulary Knowledge Rating.”   

I did have a lot of false 4 ratings on the term “index.”  They were surprised to find out that I wasn’t referring to the back of a non-fiction book.  One class also had an interesting debate over whether the index was the same as the table of contents. 

vocabulary knowledge survey - vocabulary knowledge rating chart for radicals

Several days into the unit, we repeated this activity.  It was exciting to see students realize how much their Vocabulary Knowledge Rating had increased over just a few days.  Instead of mainly circling 1s and 2s, students were know circling 3s and even some 4s.  This was a big confidence booster for my students.  Also, students were curious about when we would get to the few terms we had not yet covered in our unit.   

vocabulary knowledge survey - vocabulary knowledge rating chart for radicals

I ran out of time, and I never did have my students complete the last survey.  But, I’m glad I did this activity.  It boosted my students’ confidence, and it inspired a lot of great questions.  I definitely want to occasionally incorporate this into my classroom again next year.  I don’t know if it something that would be beneficial to do for every unit though.

Free Download of Vocabulary Knowledge Rating Chart

Vocabulary Knowledge Survey Radicals (PDF) (880 downloads )


Tuesday 2nd of July 2013

I really like this idea. Do you think it would be beneficial to do with all units or just those high in new vocab? Thanks for your blog. I just found it and love everything on it!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Thursday 17th of April 2014

I think it might depend on your students. With last year's group of students, I think doing this every chapter would have been beneficial. With this year's group of students, I'm not sure. I actually didn't use this activity this year, but I'm not sure why. Too many ideas and not enough time to try them all out, I guess. :)


Friday 21st of June 2013

This is awesome! Is there any way you can send me this in an editable format so I can adapt it for other units? I have really enjoyed following your journey this year!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Wednesday 26th of June 2013

Thank you for your kind words! I can't find the file right now, so that must mean that it's on my school computer. I'll try to remember to e-mail it to myself next time I'm at school so I can share it. If I forget, keep bugging me about it!


Monday 10th of June 2013

I think the genius in this idea is the repetition you used. You helped your students reflect on their learning. I know my students would be competitive with this and would want to have the highest score!

Algebra's Friend

Sunday 9th of June 2013

Sarah - I love this idea! Summer break has just begun, and I've been reflecting on what went well, and what I need to strengthen. Something I definitely want to strengthen is my work with vocabulary. The simplicity of the self-rating works for me!

I'm going to check out the book you mentioned. Our school initiative is formative assessment so I started the summer reading Wiliam's book Embedded Formative Assessment.

I'd love for you to check out my blog!



Sunday 9th of June 2013

This is great Sarah! Vocabulary tasks seem so contrived sometimes. This idea reminds me of some research I read in Embedded Formative.Assessment,allowing students to track/monitor their own progress have a great impact on their learning. Thanks for sharing. This definitely on my to-do list next year!

Comments are closed.