How many words do you need to know?

Number of word families needed to:
Get most things done as a tourist or visitor 1,000 to 2,000
Hold a friendly conversation 6,000
Watch television & movies 3,000 minimum, preferably 6,000
Read fluently (must know 98% of a text’s word families) 3,000 minimum, preferably 6,000

What do you need to know to learn a foreign language? by Paul Nation
Vocabulary Size, Text Coverage and Word Lists by Paul Nation and Robert Waring

“Simple practice effects” and the SAT

Useful article in the Washington Post re: standardized testing and fairness: No one likes the SAT. It’s still the fairest thing about admissions.

I’ll post some of the sections on income and scores in a bit, but this section on tutoring caught my eye:

Highly paid tutors make bold claims about how much they can raise SAT scores (“my students routinely improve their scores by more than 400 points”), but there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that coaching can reliably provide more than a modest boost — especially once simple practice effects and other expected improvements from retaking a test are accounted for. For the typical rich kid, a more realistic gain of 50 points would represent the difference between the average students at Syracuse and No. 197 University of Colorado at Boulder — significant, perhaps, but not dramatic.

By Jonathan Wai, Matt Brown and Christopher Chabris | 3/22/2019

Simple practice effects !


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