We have published (and are in the process of publishing) articles for Teachers and Researchers.

Publications of Our Monster, PI Work – for Teachers:

Goodwin, A., Petscher, Y., Reynolds, D., Lantos, T., Hughes, K., & Jones, S. (2020). Monster, PI: Assessment to guide instruction. In K. Ganske (Ed.), Mindful of words: Spelling and Vocabulary explorations, 2nd Edition (in press).  New York: The Guilford Press.


This study focuses on the morphology part of Monster, PI and describes 1) what the morphology part of Monster PI assesses and how it was developed and 2) what it found and some links to assessment and instruction in the classroom. This is a great piece if you want to understand more about the Morphology section of Monster, PI and it can be used in classrooms.

Goodwin, A.P., Petscher, Y., Jones, S., McFadden, S., Reynolds, D., & Lantos, T. (2020). The Monster in the Classroom: Assessing Language to Inform Instruction. The Reading Teacher, 73( 5), 603– 616. https://doi.org/10.1002/trtr.1870


The current study describes Monster, PI which is an app-based, gamified assessment that measures language skills (knowledge of morphology, vocabulary, and syntax) of 5th-8th graders and provides teachers with interpretable score reports to drive instruction that improves vocabulary, reading, and writing abilities. Specifically, we describe why an assessment of language is important to include, the components of language that are assessed by Monster, PI, and how Monster, PI uses gamification to add enjoyment and motivation to the assessment experience.  We then explain how to use Monster, PI to inform instructional decisions, specifically explaining the overall instructional framework, what each score means, and examples of instruction that link to each area assessed by Monster, PI.  Links to Common Core Standards are included. We conclude with sharing teachers’ feedback on the assessment and how they used it to support instruction in their classrooms.

Publications of Our Monster, PI Work – for Researchers:

Goodwin, A., Petscher, Y., Reynolds, D., Lantos, T., Gould, S., & Tock, J. (2018). When complexity is your friend: Modeling the complex problem space of vocabulary. Education Sciences, 8(4), 169.

Main Validation Paper

Goodwin AP, Petscher Y, Tock J, et al. Monster, P.I.: Validation Evidence for an Assessment of Adolescent Language That Assesses Vocabulary Knowledge, Morphological Knowledge, and Syntactical Awareness. Assessment for Effective Intervention. October 2020. doi:10.1177/1534508420966383


This is a paper that reports the reliability and validity evidence for Monster, P.I. and how providing scores at smaller levels (i.e., language areas and/or skills within language areas), can inform instruction in ways that general language scores do not. The findings confirm and extend what is present in the literature, and advance understandings of how language can be assessed.


Various models have highlighted the complexity of language. Building on foundational ideas regarding three key aspects of language, our study contributes to the literature by 1) exploring broader conceptions of morphology, vocabulary, and syntax, 2) operationalizing this theoretical model into a gamified, standardized assessment of written language for fifth to eighth middle school students entitled Monster, PI, and 3) uncovering further evidence regarding the relationship between written language and standardized reading comprehension via this assessment. Findings across grades show that morphology and vocabulary are best fit by bifactor models that identify performance overall and on specific skills within the constructs. Skills include identification of units of meaning, use of suffixes, wordsolving, and reading/spelling morphologically complex words for morphology and definition, synonym/antonym, analogy, and polysemy for vocabulary. Syntax, though, is best fit unidimensionally. Next, Monster, PI produced reliable and valid scores suggesting written language can effectively be operationalized via this theoretical model. Lastly, performance on Monster, PI explained more than 50% of variance in standardized reading, suggesting operationalizing written language via Monster, PI can provide meaningful understandings of the relationship between written language and reading comprehension. Specifically, considering just a subset of a construct, like identification of units of meaning, explained significantly less variance in reading comprehension highlighting the importance of considering these broader constructs. Implications indicate a model of written language where component areas are considered broadly and contributions to reading comprehension are explored via general performance on components as well as skill level performance is important for future work.

Validation Paper for Morphology Part of Monster, PI and Exploration of Performance with Students with Low Levels of Vocabulary Knowledge

Goodwin, A. P., Petscher, Y., & Tock, J. (2020). Morphological supports: Investigating differences in how morphological knowledge supports reading comprehension for middle school students with limited reading vocabulary. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 51(3), 589–602. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_LSHSS-19-00031


The current study takes a practical and theoretically grounded look at assessment of morphological knowledge and its potential for instructional guidance. We consider performance for 3250 fifth thru eighth graders on a gamified, computer adaptive measure of morphological knowledge entitled Monster, PI. We also explore links to standardized reading achievement for an analytic sample of 1140 students, investigating differences for the 184 students showing low levels of vocabulary knowledge. Related to validation, results suggest that based on three years of data collection and piloting of 15 morphological measures and 491 items, the final assessment that uses 7 measures and 181 items assesses morphological awareness in a valid and reliable way, both for the general sample and the low-level vocabulary students. A bifactor model provides scores for four instructionally-malleable morphological skills:1) identification of units of meaning; 2) use of suffixes to gain syntactic information; 3) word-solving; and 4) reading and spelling morphologically complex words. For the full sample, regression models showed that each morphological skill predicted additional standardized reading variance, indicating the importance of the skills to reading achievement. Moderator regression models showed significant interactions for low vocabulary students in how use of suffixes, word-solving, and morphological reading/spelling supported standardized reading comprehension.  Given the challenges low vocabulary students have with semantic information, using morphemes to build syntactic knowledge and foster reading and spelling of morphologically complex words were particularly supportive, suggesting the compensatory role of these morphological skills. In contrast, word-solving had a negative effect on general reading for these low vocabulary students. Implications for theory, research and practice are discussed.

Publications of Prior Morphology Work – for Teachers:

Goodwin, A. P. & Perkins, J. (2015). Word Detectives: Morphological Instruction That Supports Academic Language. The Reading Teacher, 68(7), 510–523.

Pacheco, M. B., & Goodwin, A. P. (2013). Putting Two and Two Together: Middle School Students’ Morphological Problem‐Solving Strategies For Unknown Words. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 56(7), 541-553.

Goodwin, A., Lipsky, M., & Ahn, S. (2012). Word Detectives: Using units of meaning to support literacy. The Reading Teacher, 65(7), 461-470. doi:10.1002/TRTR.01069

Kieffer, M. J., & Lesaux, N. K. (2007). Breaking down words to build meaning: Morphology, vocabulary, and reading comprehension in the urban classroom.The reading teacher, 61(2), 134-144.

Publications of Prior Morphology Work – for Researchers:

Goodwin, A. P., Petscher, Y., Carlisle, J. F., & Mitchell, A. M. (in press). Exploring the dimensionality of morphological knowledge for adolescent readers. Research in Reading. doi 10.1111/1467-9817.12064

Goodwin, A. P.(in press). Effectiveness of word solving: Integrating morphological problem solving within comprehension instruction for middle school students. Reading and Writing: An International Journal. doi 10.1007/s11145-015-9581-0

Goodwin, A. P., Gilbert, J. K., & Cho, S. J. (2013). Morphological contributions to adolescent word reading: An item response approach. Reading Research Quarterly, 48(1), 39-60. doi: 10.1002/rrq.037

Carlisle, J. F., Goodwin, A. P., Stone, C. A., Silliman, E. R., Ehren, B. J., & Wallach, G. P. (2013). Morphemes matter: How morphological knowledge contributes to reading and writing. Handbook of language and literacy: Development and disorders, 265-282.

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A150199 to Vanderbilt University. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

Study data were collected and managed using REDCap electronic data capture tools hosted at Vanderbilt University. REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure, web-based software platform designed to support data capture for research studies, providing 1) an intuitive interface for validated data capture; 2) audit trails for tracking data manipulation and export procedures; 3) automated export procedures for seamless data downloads to common statistical packages; and 4) procedures for data integration and interoperability with external sources. REDCap is supported by grant UL1 TR000445 from NCATS/NIH.

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