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DIVAs - Vocab Data

Organized by: School Accountability Support Services SASS

School Accountability Support Services' Photo
School Accountability Support Services' Photo


Dynamic Indicators of Vocabulary Acquisition (DIVAs)

DIVAs are a no stakes means to guage academic vital signs (in any subject and language) to support a range of decisions with students in 1st-12th grade and higher education. While supporting teachers in their efforts to strengthen student learning trajectories over time, we often heard that indicators of students' vocabulary learning are a missing link in informing daily teaching decisions relative to annual goals which are based not only on grade level expectations, but also, on students' baseline foundation knowledge and literacy performance. Educators know the Crucial 5 of literacy instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. Students who lack proficiency in any of these areas, struggle in reading, hence, achievement generally. Educators have long had good measures–screening, progress monitoring, and diagnostic—for phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and comprehension. What was missing was vocabulary measures. Therefore, we created DIVAs.

Around 3rd grade, students shift from learning to read to reading to learn, and,vocabulary knowledge is a strong indicator of success in any subject as students progress throughout their school careers. A seamless view of vocabulary learning trends over time is key information needed to respond early to prevent achievement struggles—particularly for students who are learning to read and write in more than one language. While vocabulary learning per se is never the end goal of instruction, proficiency with core concepts in any subject--and any language--is a basic floor of opportunity for success. Quality instruction depends on teachers not only having access to quality instructional materials, but also, access to meaningful data which support proactive day to day teaching decisions, and, it also depends on school and district leaders having access to meaningful data which inform systemic decisions relative to the effectiveness of the alternative curricular or tiered interventions implemented within an RTI approach. 

It also supports the Common Core vision all students will "grow their vocabularies through a mix of conversations, direct instruction, and reading... determine word meanings, appreciate the nuances of words, and steadily expand their repertoire of words and phrases". While vocabulary learning per se is never the end goal of instruction, proficiency with core concepts in any subject and any language, is a basic floor of opportunity for success.


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