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Abstract

This study compared the effectiveness of a vocabulary list (i.e., explicit environment) to a textbook passage (i.e, authentic environment) for the initial exposure of domain-specific vocabulary from an anatomy textbook. Forty-two undergraduate Speech-Language Pathology students participated. The study's materials are from Anatomy and Physiology for Speech Language and Hearing, fifth edition (Seikel et al., 2016). The selection is a subtopic on the topic of the anatomy of the cerebrum. Twenty-five vocabulary words within this section are bolded by the textbook to emphasize their importance. These words were targeted in the two different conditions, authentic (textbook) and explicit (vocabulary list). The gain scores from pretest to posttest between groups (i.e., authentic vs. explicit) were similar, and this was true of students with both high and low reading abilities, as measured by the reading score from the American College Testing (ACT). Student performance was highly variable, and many students performed poorly regardless of condition. The results of the study revealed no significant differences between participants who were in conditions that received vocabulary words within the context of a textbook or isolated in a list. This poor performance may be related to research design or student reading habits in general.

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