1. What is VocabLevelTest.org?

VocabLevelTest.org provides a non-commercial platform for English language teachers and researchers to create and administer vocabulary level tests, and to freely share the anonymized results of those tests for the benefit of the English language teaching and testing community.

Our aims are:

  • To provide self-marking standardized vocabulary tests, including:
    • meaning-recall (L2 to L1 translation) in reading and listening modes
    • form-recall (L1 to L2) in typing and speaking modes
  • To help teachers identify which words their learners should spend time studying, and to match learners with materials of an appropriate level
  • To develop freely available difficulty ranked wordlists
  • To allow researchers to compare the results of vocabulary levels tests across studies consistently and reliably

Please note that the site is current in BETA status, which means some functionality is still being developed and improved.

2. What do vocabulary levels tests measure?

Vocabulary levels tests measure the extent to which the test taker can recall the meaning or produce the form of items appearing on the test. If a test taker can correctly recall the meaning or produce the form of a target item, they are deemed to "know" that word for the purposes of language teaching and research.

Items appearing in vocabulary levels tests are drawn from frequency bands, i.e. ranges of words which normally cover 100, 500, or 1000 items. Not all of the items appearing in the designated bands are included in the test; only a representative selection of words are included (typically 30 items per 1000 item band, or 3%). A student is deemed to have mastered a band when they have correctly responded to at least 98% of the items sampled from that band.

The bands of words themselves are drawn from wordlists, which are comprised of the most frequent words of the target language as a whole. The New General Service List (NGSL), which is one of the wordlists utilized by vocableveltest.org, covers 92% of the words appearing in general English texts.

3. How can the results of vocabulary levels test help teachers and researchers?

Teachers and researchers use vocabulary levels tests to estimate the percentage of words learners know. Once this information has been established, it can be used to inform decisions about which materials to assign to students for language study purposes.

It is well established in the research that non-native English readers need to know at least 98% of the words in a text to be able to understand it without constantly looking up the meanings of the words in a dictionary. This level of unaided comprehension is necessary to engage in activities such as extensive reading and task-based learning.

The following conditions must be met in order for the results of a vocabulary levels test to be valid:

  • The wordlist used by the test must be an accurate representation of the target language
  • The word counting unit must be an accurate representation of learners' ability to comprehend inflectional and derivational forms
  • The test items selected from the bands must be an accurate representation of those bands
  • The question format must be an accurate representation of how the meaning of words are recalled when reading and listening, or how the forms are recalled when writing or speaking

This site endeavors to meet these conditions in order to ensure that the results of the tests it provides are valid, reliable, and useful.

4. How do I create vocabulary tests?

Ensure you are logged in with your Google account. Access the Manage Tests screen, and click "Create New Test". You can then customize the test to your needs.

5. How do I administer vocabulary tests?

To administer a test to your students, provide them with the submission link. This is displayed at the top of the test creation page:

Tests can be submitted on both desktop and mobile devices, and are compatible with any modern web browser.

Note that students do not need to log in with Google in order to submit a test. Instead, they should provide a name, number, or other identifying information, when they submit their test results.

6. How do I view the results of a vocabulary test?

Ensure you are logged in with your Google account, and then access the "View Submissions" link as shown in the test creation screen:

7. What wordlists are used to generate test items?

Please see the wordlists information page for more information about the wordlists used by this site.

8. What question types are supported?

The site generates meaning-recall (listening and reading) and form-recall (speaking and typing) vocabulary tests.

The following question types are available:

  • Receptive Reading (Meaning Recall)
    Read the English word and write the answer in Japanese
  • Receptive Listening (Meaning Recall) (Coming soon!)
    Listen to the English word and write the answer in Japanese
  • Productive Typing (Form Recall)
    Read the prompt in Japanese and type the English word
  • Productive Speaking (Form Recall) (Coming soon!)
    Read the prompt in Japanese and say the English word

9. What information does the site collect?

You will need to log in with a Google account to create and administer vocabulary tests with this site. For more details about what information from your Google account is made available to this site, please see this page.

When you create and administer a vocabulary test with this site, we will keep a permanent anonymized record of the results of the test, including (but not limited to):

  • The answer submitted for each item
  • The time taken to submit each item
  • The first language of the submitter
  • The geographical location of the submitter

N.B. We will never reveal any information that allows other users to individually identify submitters of tests you have created. This information is only made available to the creator of the test.

10. What information does the site share?

Under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, the site provides teachers and researchers with full access to anonymized results from all tests administered via the site.

N.B. We will never reveal any information that allows other users to individually identify submitters of tests you have created. This information is only made available to the creator of the test.

The site also provides teachers full access to the wordlists used to generate questions for the vocabulary tests, which include frequency data, meaning senses, definitions, and translations for each item.

11. How does VocabLevelTest.org compare to other vocabulary tests?

Test NameYearWord UnitL1 SupportedL2 SupportedTest ModesWordlist SupportedRangeBand SizeSample RateAuthors
VocabLevelTest.org2019Lemma, MultiwordsJapanese, Korean, Turkish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Portuguese, SpanishEnglishReceptive, ProductiveNGSL, EnglishCentral, Sublex50,000100, 500, 10001% to 10%McLean & Raine, 2019
Guessing From Context Test2013N/AEnglishN/AReceptiveN/AN/AN/AN/ASasao & Webb, 2018
Picture VST2017N/AEnglishN/AReceptiveCorpus of US/UK children's media, 1-6k6000N/AN/AAnthony & Nation, 2017
Updated VLT2017N/AEnglishN/AReceptiveBNC-Coca 1-5kN/AN/AN/AWebb, Sasao & Ballance, 2017
Word Part Levels Test2017Word familyEnglishN/AReceptiveBauer & Nation (1993) + BNCN/AN/AN/ASasao & Webb, 2017
Test de la taille du vocabulaire2016N/AN/AFrenchReceptiveLonsdale & Lebras lists 1-10kN/AN/AN/ABatista & Horst, 2016
New General Service List TestN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
VLT Vocab Levels TestN/AN/AEnglishN/AMultiple ChoiceThorndike-Lorge+UWL, 2-10k10,000N/AN/ANation, 1990
WAT Word Associates TestN/AN/AEnglishN/AMCUWLN/AN/AN/ARead, 1998
VLT ProductiveN/AN/AEnglishN/AMCVP-Classic (GSL+UWL) 2-10k10KN/AN/ALaufer & Nation, 1999
VLT-1kN/AN/AEnglishN/AMultiple ChoiceVP-Classic (GSL+UWL) 1k1KN/AN/ANation, 2001
VLT v.2N/AN/AEnglishN/AMCVP-Classic (GSL+UWL) 2-10kN/AN/AN/ASchmitt, Schmitt & Clapham, 2001
VST Vocab Size TestN/AN/AEnglishN/AMCBNC-Coca 1-14kN/AN/AN/ANation & Beglar, 2007
Phrasal VSTN/AN/AEnglishN/AMultiple ChoiceBNC, 1-5k5000N/AN/AMartinez & Schmitt, 2012

12. How do I provide feedback?

We encourage all types of feedback, and you can contact us here. We especially encourage comments and feedback on the wordlists we support on the site. You can provide comments directly in the wordlists via Google Sheets:

13. What new features are coming in the future?

We are hoping to add the following features in future updates:

  • Downloadable word lists
  • Individual student vocabulary profile page
  • Whole class vocabulary profile page
  • Support for multiple native languages (contact us to assist with translation):
    • 한국어
    • 简体中文
    • 日本語
    • Tiếng Việt
  • Listening and speaking modes for receptive and productive tests

14. How do I cite this site, its wordlists, and its tests?

Please use the following reference to cite this site:

McLean, S. & Raine, P. (2019). Vocab Level Test [Web application]. Retrieved from https://www.vocableveltest.org

For information about how to cite individual wordlists and tests, please see the wordlists page.

15. Licence

Creative Commons License

Wordlists, anonymized test results, and related data are made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Commercial cases: Using any of the data or other materials from vocableveltest.org in a commercial context requires a license from our non-profit foundation. Please contact us to inquire about licensing vocableveltest.org content.

16. Sponsors

We are grateful to EnglishCentral for sponsoring the development of this site. If you find this site valuable and would like to continue to see it grow, please contact us about becoming a sponsor.