Read the following passage and see if you can answer the question correctly:
"During the Renaissance, words flowed in from Latin — not that different from French — and Greek. The Age of Exploration introduced novel terms from all corners. English was becoming a polyglot."
The passage refers to 'novel terms.' This means that the terms were…
A. used in Renaissance texts
B. formed from Greek or Latin roots
C. new to the English language
D. shared by many languages"
(The correct answer is at the end of the article.)
New data released from a national reading assessment show which vocabulary words students are struggling with and which they can use correctly.
Among the findings: Only 32 percent of 12th-grade students could correctly identify the meaning of "novel," as in new and original.
But for every word students struggle with, there is another difficult word they grasp fairly well. Eighty-one percent of 12th-graders correctly identified the meaning of "assimilate;" 76 percent can use "precedent" correctly, and 85 percent know that to refer to someone as "puritan" today means they're "serious and reserved."
One common word not understood by more than half of eighth graders is "reverently." Only 56 percent could accurately pick out the meaning of "complete" from the phrase, "a barnyard diorama complete with pigs, horses, chickens, and a farmer watching over them all."
More than three out of four eighth graders correctly chose the meaning of the words "accidentally," "encounter," "fascinating," "initiation," "insistence," "intently," and "observe."
Less than half of fourth graders can correctly use the words "parched," "knowingly," "just" (as in "right"), and "brilliant" (as in bright colors).
More than three out of four fourth-graders can use the words "accidentally" and "fascinating" correctly.
Some of the difficulty with certain words may have been caused by difficult question wording. The National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the tests, gave examples for 31 different vocabulary questions.
Scores in 2013 for fourth, eighth, or 12th grade students were not significantly different from the scores from 2009. The vocabulary results reflect "nationally representative samples of 190,400 fourth-graders, 171,800 eighth-graders, and 45,900 twelfth-graders," according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
And as for the question at the top, the correct answer for "novel" is C, "new to the English language." Thirty-nine percent of 12th-graders chose option D, with 12 and 17 percent picking options A and B, respectively.