Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

A Comprehensive Definition of Morphological Awareness: Implications for Assessment

Apel, Kenn

doi: 10.1097/TLD.0000000000000019
Part 1. Morphological Awareness and Assessment

Purpose: Although there is an increasing body of evidence for the important role morphological awareness plays in written language development, there is little consensus on a fully specified definition of this linguistic awareness ability. Without agreement on a definition, several problems arise, at least one of which impacts researchers' and practitioners' ability to fully and consistently assess students' morphological awareness abilities.

Method: In the first portion of this article, I discuss insufficiencies with current definitions of morphological awareness and propose a more comprehensive definition. Following this, I relate the implications of this new definition for assessment: the inability of current norm-referenced tests and experimenter-designed tasks to meet the definition and considerations from the research to keep in mind about stimuli on morphological awareness tasks.

Conclusion: In the final segment of the article, I provide implications and suggestions for practitioners who wish to assess morphological awareness in a comprehensive manner, using the new definition as a guide to measure students' morphological awareness abilities.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Corresponding Author: Kenn Apel, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Carolina, 124 Sumter St, Suite 300, Columbia, SC 29201 (

The author has indicated that he has no financial and no nonfinancial relationships to disclose.

© 2014Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins