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Title:Factors Influencing the English Reading Test Performance of Spanish-English Bilingual Children
Author(s):Garcia, Georgia Earnest
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Bilingual and Multicultural
Education, Tests and Measurements
Education, Reading
Abstract:The major objective of this study was to identify factors that influenced the English reading test performance of 51 Spanish-speaking Hispanic children at the fifth- and sixth-grade levels as compared to that of 53 Anglo children enrolled in the same classrooms. The role of reading tests in the assessment and placement of children makes it important to understand what such tests reveal about the literacy development of limited English proficient children.
Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies were employed. The statistical results revealed that the Hispanic children's reading test performance was adversely affected by their limited prior knowledge and by their performance on scriptally implicit questions. While the prior knowledge, vocabulary, and standardized reading test scores accounted for a major proportion of the Anglo reading test variance, they did not account for a comparable proportion of the Hispanic variance, suggesting that other background or affective variables influenced the children's test performance. A speediness effect for the Hispanic children was not found.
Interviews with a subsample of the children indicated that the amount of time that the Hispanic children utilized (a) might have been related to their second language reading status, and (b) depended on their desire to finish the test quickly, their general attitude regarding tests, and their test-taking strategies. These children also were adversely affected by the paraphrasing in the test questions and answer choices. They did not recognize the textual relationships implicit in the questions, and frequently thought that the questions were not answered in the passages.
The findings suggest that breadth of topics on a standardized reading test does not offset cultural test bias. The Hispanic children's tendency to rely on a literal interpretation of the text to determine their answers meant that general questions were more effective in assessing their comprehension than was the reading test itself. Finally, the children's use of Spanish to negotiate meaning during the interviews indicated that their knowledge of Spanish should be used as a source for positive transfer in their English literacy development.
Issue Date:1988
Description:279 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8823132
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1988

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