More Than Words: Older Adolescents' Linguistic Resources in the Context of Disciplinary Achievement and Academic Risk

Dianna Townsend, University of Nevada
Ana Taboada Barber, University of Maryland, College Park
Hannah Carter, Boise State University
Rachel Salas, University of Nevada


This study explores older adolescents’ linguistic resources, specifically academic vocabulary knowledge, in the context of factors that can impact their academic success and risk of dropping out of school. The data resulted from a collaboration among professional development personnel, teachers, and university researchers. Eleventh and twelfth grade students (N = 310) were administered measures of three dimensions of academic word knowledge. Academic word knowledge explained significant variance in reading, math, science, and writing. Furthermore, students’ risk categories correlated with all measures, suggesting that efforts to support academic vocabulary for adolescents should be part of comprehensive interventions to help adolescents navigate academic risk.