Essential Vocabulary

ACADEMIC/HIGH STAKES VOCABULARY
According to research, the following words appear on high stakes test more frequently than other words, and these are the words that students most often misread, misinterpret, or misuse when attempting to respond to questions on high stakes tests.

The first 12 words are known as “The Big 12” and they are the MOST frequently found.

  1. Analyze
  2. Compare
  3. Contrast
  4. Describe
  5. Evaluate
  6. Explain
  7. Formulate
  8. Infer
  9. Predict
  10. Summarize
  11. Support
  12. Trace
  13. Connect
  14. Contradict
  15. Defend
  16. Evidence
  17. Identify
  18. Illustrate
  19. Interpret
  20. Justify
  21. List
  22. Note (verb)
  23. Persuade
  24. Relationship
  25. Significance

Critical Words Students Must Know for the Common Core State Standards
Researchers estimate 85% of achievement test scores are based on the vocabulary of the standards. Below are the high frequency words of the CCSS.

Critical Verbs

  1. Analyze
  2. Articulate
  3. Cite
  4. Compare
  5. Comprehend
  6. Contrast
  7. Formulate
  8. Delineate
  9. Demonstrate
  10. Describe
  11. Determine
  12. Develop
  13. Distinguish
  14. Draw
  15. Defend
  16. Explain
  17. Identify
  18. Infer
  19. Integrate
  20. Interpret
  21. Locate
  22. Organize
  23. Paraphrase
  24. Refer
  25. Retell
  26. Suggest
  27. Support
  28. Summarize
  29. Synthesize
  30. Trace

Critical Nouns

  1. Alliteration
  2. Analogy
  3. Argument
  4. Central Idea
  5. Conclusions
  6. Connections
  7. Connotative Language
  8. Details
  9. Evidence
  10. Figurative Language
  11. Illustrations
  12. Interaction
  13. Metaphor
  14. Mood
  15. Point of View
  16. Rhetoric
  17. Simile
  18. Stanza
  19. Structures
  20. Theme
  21. Tone
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