vocabulary teaching program

This is a project to write a vocabulary instruction program in JustBasic, a free dialect of basic, available on the web.

The program presents to the user a sentence with a blank. Below are 4 words, with their definitions. The user picks the number of the word that goes correctly in the blank. The program gives feedback, and tracks the number right, the number wrong, and the time the user has worked.

Here's the structure of the text file from which the program draws. An asterisk on a line by itself separates each vocabulary word

from the next. This is how the program knows that a new word will appear on the next line.

The next line, then, contains the word by itself. The next line contains a number that is the difficulty level of the word. The purpose of this difficulty level is so that the program can move up or down in level depending upon the fraction right that the user has

gotten in the last few responses. The next line contains a definition of the word, preceded by an abbreviation for the part of speech. The next line begins with the letters syn for synonyms, and this contains a list of words that are synonymous with the word in

question. The purpose of this line is so that the program, when picking distractor items for multiple choice questions, can reject any words whose synonyms overlap those of the correct word. The next lines are fill in the blank sentences, where the correct answer

will be to give the number of the correct word to fill in the blank. There's not a fixed number of such sentences, and that's why I use the asterisk to tell the program that the sentences have stopped and the next word has begun.

Here's what the program should do. First it should input the student's name and get the date and time and store these in a text file. It should start at some level that is stored in a "settings" list somewhere. Then it should start a timer going. Then it starts presenting the sentences with blanks in them, followed by a certain number (ideally, stored in the "settings") of items. The number of multiple choice items will vary from 2 to about 5. The choices give not just the word, but also the part of speech and definition. (So even if the student doesn't know the word, the student should be able to get the right answer if the student understands the definition. This is not really a test of vocabulary, but a vocabulary learning program that is really a test of

persistence and sustained attention.) The student responds. I think that keyboard input, as with the number 1,2,3,4, or 5, is likely to be much faster than mouse input. There is a place on the screen where there is a talley of right and wrong. When the student responds correctly, the number correct goes up one, and when he responds incorrectly, the number incorrect goes up one. At approximately five minute intervals, (I say approximately

because the student may not respond at exactly the five minute point; the interval is the first response after 5 minutes) the program records, in a text file, the (right-wrong)/minute for that interval. It should just write, interval 1: __, where the

blank is the right-wrong per minute.

If the user gets as many as three wrong in any consecutive ten questions, the program moves down a level. If the user gets 10 consecutive questions correct, the program moves

up a level. There should be a way for the supervisor to force the program to move up or down levels.

The user is provided with a way of terminating the program. The program writes how long the user lasted, and the total right-wrong per minute for the entire session. In addition to writing this to the log file, it prints this information to the screen.

There probably should be some mechanism for terminating the program if there has not been any keyboard input in let's say, a minute. We should probably also have some way of pausing the whole thing for students who need to go to the bathroom.

At some point I may want to include in the program periodic interruptions of the vocabulary work to query the student about the current level of "persistence power" that the student feels, where 0 is I can't go on any longer, and 10 is I'm brimming with energy to work more.

I want the student's speed to be limited only by the student's abilities and not by the student's waiting for the program to do something.

Here is a sample of what the text file the program opens and uses might look like, only the real one would be much bigger than this.




v. go away from, not intending to return; forsake; desert

syn leave, desert, forsake, give up

Although things looked bad, she had fortitude, and did not _____ hope.

The man had so much trouble with alcohol that he had to _____ the idea of drinking in


If the project is well-planned, there is much less chance that we will have to _____ it.




adj. existing in thought or as an idea but not being a specific thing that you can point



A particular pencil is a concrete object, whereas freedom is a(n) _____ idea.

The word jewel is more _____ than the word diamond, because jewel refers to more specific


When you use _____ language, it's good to give some concrete examples of what you mean.




n. school, institution of learning, group of learners or learned people

syn school, university, college

While studying at the _____. he wanted to continue to do useful work.

The group of scholars decided to organize themselves to share knowledge; they formed





n. a means of approaching or entering (a place); a way in

syn entrance, passage

A leader of an organization should make sure that the workers have _____ to him or her.

If you have _____ to an internet connection, you can find the article.

People must always have _____ to drinking water.

The bridge will provide us _____ to the other side of the canyon.




v. to a favor or service for, provide for, supply with, make room for, adapt, adjust

syn provide, supply, adapt, adjust

He can _____ himself well to new situations.

Although the request was unusual, I was happy to _____ my loyal friend.




v. go along with, travel with, be a companion or helper to; escort

syn escort, chaperon, chaperone, conduct

It's wonderful when people _____ each other on a walk and have a nice chat.

I'm going to the library; would you like to _____ me?

The pianist knows how to _____ the singer well.




v. gradually get or gather an increasing number of

syn gather, gain, accrue, collect, amass, grow, increase, mount

Your knowledge of how to deal with people increases as you _____ more experience.

Saving and investments allow people to _____ wealth without working for it.

A dental hygienist removes the stuff that tends to _____ on our teeth.




adj. free from error, true, correct, or very close to correct

syn true, correct, error-free

The errors in the computer program kept the results from being _____.

It takes a lot of work to get an _____ count of the calories one has eaten.

One important step in reaching a goal is an _____ way of measuring its accomplishment.




v. gain or reach by effort, skill, or courage

syn accomplish, reach, perform, succeed

To set goals and to then _____ them provide lots of pleasure.

It is good to _____ high scores on tests, but to help many people is even better.

Wishing very strongly that you will _____ something often helps you to reach the goal.




v. accept the truth of, admit, recognize

syn accept, admit, confirm, confess, avow, recognize, thank

When someone joins you, it's important to _____ the person's presence.

He handled criticism by saying, "I _____ that you may have a point."

The negotiations would be helped if the first country would _____ the other' existence.




V. lower, humiliate, disgrace. discredit

syn lower, humiliate, disgrace, degrade, humble, humiliate, discredit, mortify, abash

The person thought, "I will not _____ myself by getting drunk."

The principal of the school refused to _____ herself by getting dunked at the school fair.

Trying not only to defeat, but also to _____ one's enemies often brings out revenge.




v. embarrassed, ashamed

syn embarrass, shame, mortify, humiliate, embarrassed, ashamed, mortified, humiliated

He was not _____ to have old and worn possessions; he considered them signs of


Despite forgetting some lines in the play, she continued with no sign of being _____.




v. decrease, reduce, lessen

syn decrease, reduce, lessen, subside, mitigate, diminish, void

The candidates for governor all pledged to _____ taxes.

She pulled her car off the road and waited for the storm to _____.




v. renounce, give up

syn renounce, relinquish

They tried to persuade the dictator to _____ his position, but he wanted power too much to

do so.

It is not often that a king or queen will _____ the throne voluntarily.




n. kidnapping

syn kidnapping

Although _____ by strangers is rare, many children and parents are very scared that it

will happen.

One of the disadvantages of being very rich is the possibility of _____ of family members.



adj. very unusual, not normal, deviating from what is expected

syn unusual, abnormal, deviant, deviating, fringe

The classes grades were so _____ in the direction of high scores that people suspected


Please don't judge the person's skill by that one example; it was an _____ performance.




adj. help, aid, usually in doing something wrong

syn help, aid, assist, encourage, incite

Although he did not commit the crime, he was blamed because he did _____ it.

The teacher was criticized for _____ing the cheating of the students.


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