Vocabulary Test in Peabody Pictures: Uses and Features

Assessment of vocabulary in childhood, both receptive and expressive, is of vital importance in cases where it appears impaired or when there is another disorder (eg, neurodevelopmental disorder).

Here we will find a useful tool for assessing receptive language at almost all ages: Peabody’s Picture Vocabulary Test. We will know its characteristics, what it is used for and how it is applied.

    Vocabulary test in Peabody pictures: features

    The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-III) was developed by Ll. M. Dunn and LM Dunn in 1997. In 2006, D. Arribas produced the Spanish adaptation (TEA Editions). The PPVT-III is an adaptation of the Peabody Picture Vovabulary Test-Revised, although it differs from it in that it does not correlate with IQ.

    This is a test to detect language difficulties and to assess verbal and vocabulary skills. Assess listening comprehension or verbal comprehension.

    It is intended for individual application and the application time is between 10 and 20 minutes, although it is usually 11 to 12 minutes. The age of application is from 2 and a half to 90 years.

    The materials required for the application of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test are the manual, 25 annotation sheets and the visual recovery book.


    The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test consists of 192 slides preceded by 5 practice exercises. Each sheet has 4 simple black and white illustrations, Organized as a multiple selection. The candidate’s task will be to select the image that best represents the meaning of the word presented verbally by the examiner (eg “pear”).

    Sets of items that are too easy or too difficult are not applied to the subject; therefore, subjects typically respond to a total of 7 sets.

    The correction of the test is generally quick and objective, And is performed simultaneously with the test application.


    The basic objectives of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test are as follows.

    1. Assess receptive vocabulary level

    Receptive vocabulary, also called passive vocabulary or reception vocabulary, is a vocabulary that a speaker is able to interpret in different situations of receiving messages. Therefore, a receptive vocabulary it is part of a speaker’s mental lexicon.

    In this sense, it is a performance test that measures the level of vocabulary acquisition of a subject. We have to understand it as a test of success, As it demonstrates such an acquisition of vocabulary in Spanish.

    2. Early detection of difficulties or screening of verbal skills.

    Peabody’s Picture Vocabulary Test it can be included as additional data in a full battery of tests that assess different cognitive processes. However, it can only be used in this sense when the usual language at home, in the community or at the candidate’s school is Spanish.


    The test is applied mainly in two contexts: the clinic and the school. It can be used in children with reading difficulties or who have language problems; also in people with autism, psychosis, intellectual disability and withdrawal.

    As we have seen, it can be used as a discernment test for academic skills (verbal ability or intelligence) or as part of a cognitive battery.

    Importance of vocabulary

    A vocabulary test is considered the best individual index of academic or academic success. On the one hand, language is the main instrument for manipulating the most complex thought processes, Education and communication; on the other hand, a wealth of auditory vocabulary can be understood as an important measure of competence or intellectual aptitude.


    We need to keep in mind that the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test does not provide an overall measure of intelligence, and we should not make too many generalizations from an instrument that only measures auditory vocabulary, mainly because this is only one aspect of a person’s complex. linguistic and cognitive proficiency.

    On another side, it is not recommended to apply the test to people with hearing impairment or deafness.

    Test construction

    The construction of the test was based on item response theory, which ensures that only items appropriate to the candidate’s ability level are applied. His Spanish adaptation had a representative sample of over 2,500 subjects.

    Bibliographical references:

    • Dunn, Ll., Dunn, L. and Arribas, D. PEABODY Vocabulary Test in Images. Associate Specialist Psychologists PSEA SAS.
    • Catalog of schools and clinics. TEA EDITIONS.
    • Cervero, MJ and Pichardo Castro, F. (2000). Learn and teach vocabulary. Madrid: Edelsa.

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