Vocabulary in general refers to the knowledge of word meanings. Some words have multiple meanings, and sometimes meanings vary across contexts. Academic vocabulary in particular refers to knowledge of word meanings that are used across multiple contexts or content areas, such as substitute, underlie, establish, inherit (Coxhead, 2000). Knowledge of academic words supports general academic success, since these words are foundational for comprehension across multiple subject areas.

Assessments of academic vocabulary knowledge vary in format, but multiple choice item formats are very common.

Assessments are frequently normed on samples of monolingual English speaking students, and the utility of assessments for other populations is not known.